AFTER spluttering along near the basement of the Division Two table for the bulk of the year, Ryan Henry is hoping that the outset of the Championship will belatedly kick-start Urney’s season.
The St Columba’s forward admits that registering just three league victories from thirteen outings represents a below-par return for the team who were operating at Senior level just under twelve months ago.
Grouped among a handful of sides who are scrambling to escape the drop zone, Urney’s players can at least park their ACL concerns this Saturday afternoon at Sigersons Park when they clash with Tattyreagh in the first round of the Intermediate Championship.
Despite their difficulties so far in 2018, Henry is optimistic that the squad can yet transform their fortunes in time for the Championship.
“The season is long and you have your ups and downs throughout the year. I suppose given the size of our squad with injuries and players coming and going it doesn’t take much to impact on it
“But we are coming around again now. We had the long break like all teams because of Tyrone doing so well and reaching the All-Ireland Final. We have put in plenty of hard work and are hoping to give the Championship a good charge.
“It was disappointing to get relegated last year but heading into this season you set yourself new goals and doing well in the Championship would be high up among them.”
Urney reached the final of the knockout competition at this grade as recently as 2015 only to come up short and Henry feels they harbour realistic ambitions of another protracted run.
“It has probably been the same team which got us to those recent Intermediate County Finals. We usually get our best team together for the Championship. It will be no different this year and we will hope to get a good run at it.”
Urney, managed this term by Palor McNulty, will need to be wary this Saturday against a dynamic young Tattyreagh team which annexed the County Junior crown in 2017. Ryan appreciates that his team must be on their guard.
“Due to work commitments I was unable to play against them in the league earlier in the year. But speaking to team-mates they’d tell you they are a good young team.
“They came up from Division Three similar to Owen Roes, and they have had a decent league campaign. They are in around the play-off position so they will go into the game full of confidence.
“They won the Junior Championship but this is obviously a bigger step up for them. We found that out last year competing in Division One ourselves.”
While Eglish and Gortin are the bookies favourites in the battle for the Paddy Cullen Cup, Henry stresses that there is very little between any of the contenders.
“Obviously Eglish just won the league there last week and a couple of others have pulled away a bit at the top. At the bottom though there is a bunch of teams on nine or ten points.
“If you were to go through the results of the games featuring the lower teams against the top teams, there wasn’t a whole lot in it. It is all about getting the rub of the green on the day. It is a very competitive league.”
Urney just recently returned to league action with a draw against Kildress, with Jamie McAleer and Johnny Lafferty leading their scoring stakes. Henry also pitched in with a couple of crucial points and took great encouragement from the outing.
“We were actually disappointed just to draw that match against Kildress because they equalised late on. The match was our first after the long break so it has given injured players a chance to recover. We got a few players back who were playing football in America during the summer. So we are coming together okay.”
Posted: 1:12 pm September 21, 2018