A RUN in the Ulster Club Junior Championship is now the big aim for Newtownstewart as they prepare for a quarter final clash against their Monaghan counterparts this weekend.
It will be a tough opener for the St Eugene’s as they face an Emyvale side which has previous enjoyed progress at this level.
But there is also no doubting the confidence and determination of the newly-crowned Tyrone champions.
With the celebrations following their victory over Beragh in the county decider, team manager, Martin McNulty, and the players will be refocused for the challenge ahead.
They should have ace scorer, Ryan Mayse available once again.
However, it is understood that they will have to plan without the services of Aidan McSorley.
The full-forward was forced off early in the county final a fortnight ago due to a shoulder injury and is understood not to have recovered sufficiently.
Nevertheless, the north Tyrone side still have plenty in reserve to make a strong bid to reach the semi-final and influential midfielder, Kevin Gallagher believes that a provincial run is firmly within their capabilities.
“Our efforts throughout last year in terms of raising money for the draw and then making the commitment on the field really paid off in our win over Beragh,” he said.
“The flood which affected the pitch definitely boosted morale. Everyone put their shoulder to the wheel and made us stronger as a club and a team.
“We’ve just decided to enjoy the Tyrone Junior win because our success was nine years coming. It’s a case of taking things from there and hoping that we can do well.
“The Ulster journey is of course one that we were on before and we didn’t get over the line. It’s a case of taking things one game at a time again.”
Newtownstewart last won the Tyrone Junior title in 2009, and now the task of enhancing the success of Red Hand clubs at this level beckons for Kevin Gallagher and his teammates.
A good run at this level would also prove a good boost ahead of the big challenge of Intermediate football in 2019.
“The experience of being in Division Two will hopefully help us, although there’s probably a few younger players who haven’t experienced this before,” he added.
“For myself and others on the team it’s about sticking around and trying to prepare the younger lads for what’s ahead of them.
“As we well know, Intermediate football is a tough league and we’ll get down to work and enjoy things next year.
“We went through a bit of a bad patch last year and the support that ourselves and Beragh was probably an indication of the stature in which the two clubs are held.”
Emyvale have been responsible for two of Monaghan’s win in the Ulster Junior championship and they hit the goal trail to defeat Drumlane 5-13 to 3-7 in last week’s preliminary round clash.
They overcame in the concession of 1-1 in the opening 90 seconds to win by 12 points with Daniel McMahon (2), David McAllister (2) and Stephen Askin raising green flags for Declan Loughman’s side.