NO matter who emerges victorious from this evening’s (Thursday) heavyweight quarter-final replay clash between Pomeroy and Loughmacrory, Owen Roes skipper Stephen Kelly said his team would need to raise their game to reach this year’s LCC Group Tyrone Intermediate Club Championship Final.
In Killyclogher on Sunday evening a last-gasp point earned 12-man Pomeroy a replay which takes place in Stewartstown with the winner going forward to face a Roes side buoyed by Sunday’s 2-12 to 1-7 last-eight victory over North Tyrone rivals Urney at Sigerson Park, Strabane.
The semi-final showdown has been pencilled in for Monday evening at Healy Park (Throw-in 7.45pm) and Kelly said his players would have to improve on the performances which were good enough to account for Stewartstown and Urney.
“There is definitely a few gears to be going up,” he said.
“Whether its Pomeroy or Loughmacrory it doesn’t matter. We have come up against them in the league. They are two quality sides and they have some handy players.
“Obviously Pomeroy have three county men and Loughmacrory have some good under-20s. It’s definitely a step up but this is where you want to be playing. Whether you are in a semi-final or a final you are going to come up against quality opposition, that’s where you want to be as an individual or a footballer.
“There is a hunger in this panel of players who have taken us out of the bottom of Division Three.”
Against Urney Barry Tracey’s men struggled to find the target in the first half. On too many occasions shots went wide or dropped short into the grateful arms of Urney stopper Keith Neilis.
But in the second half, the Roes found their shooting boots and goals by Cathal McShane and Michael Dooher laid the platform for a convincing victory.
Kelly insisted his players had plenty to work on in preparation for Monday evening’s last-four decider.
“Against Urney we scored just four points in the first half, that’s not ideal,” continued the captain.
“That’s something we need to work on during the week. In the second half we found our killer touch in stages but we had other opportunities to really kill them off but we let them in for apenalty.
“The main thing for ourselves was to be in the semi-final, it was always going to be a challenge against Urney, they have some quality footballers.
“We’ll sit back, take stock, get a look back at the quarter-final and get a bit of a recovery going.
“It’s a short week by the looks of things, we’ll try and tie down a few things and we’ll go again.
“If you want to be in a semi-final you have to have the work done by this stage. It’s about fine tuning the likes of the shooting and few of those frees that we gave away, bits and pieces.”
Manager Barry Tracey agreed with his skipper that his team would have to up their game if they are intent on toppling either Loughmacrory or the Plunketts.
“We were beaten in a semi-final by Tattyreagh a couple of years ago and look where they ended up,” he said.
“We are 60, 65 minutes away from a county final but we will treat it as another game. It’s going to be a massive lift in opposition. It is a massive lift, but we have had a good chance to look at them. Recovery is going to be key this week.
“We have things to fine tune because there is a lot for us to improve on. I don’t think any team will be quaking in their boots with our performance against Urney. It was enough to get us over the line but will it be enough to get us into a final? I’m not so sure.”