Ramor star James McEnroe looks forward to trip into the unknown against Maghery
RAMOR UNTED defender James McEnroe admits he doesn’t know much about Maghery, his club’s opponents in the Ulster senior quarter-finals this weekend.
The Armagh champions would probably have said the same after they beat Cullyhanna in the Orchard decider a fortnight ago but at least they were able to watch the Virginia outfit win last Sunday’s Cavan county final replay against Castlerahan.
The Armagh spies will have seen a fit, well-organised outfit that defends in numbers and isn’t afraid to kick the ball long into a forward line spearheaded by full-forward Adrian Cole who top-scored with four points from play at Kingspan Breffni Park.
The Ramor players deservedly celebrated their first county title in over two decades, but they returned to training last night to prepare for Sunday’s trip to the Athletic Grounds.
“It’s been 24 years since it has been in Virginia,” said McEnroe.
“There were a couple of uncles of mine – Ray and Sean Cole – on that team so it’s great to bring the Oliver Plunkett Cup back to the club again.”
He added: “I must admit I don’t know much about Maghery, but come Wednesday night we’ll be back at training and looking at them.
“It’s my first time in the Ulster senior championship – I’ve played minor and U21 and hopefully we can push on. We’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“We’ll celebrate, but come Wednesday we’ll be back out at the pitch getting things sorted.”
A tigerish man-marker, the burly McEnroe shadowed Castlerahan playmaker Cian Mackey in Sunday’s two-point replay win.
He’ll be asked to do a similar job on Maghery’s full-forward Aidan Forker, or perhaps push out on playmaker Stefan Forker. McEnroe says the Cavan championship has prepared Ramor well for the challenge they’ll face on Sunday.
“Cavan is always nip and tuck,” he said.
“It’s always tough to get through the clubs in Cavan. There are always good teams – the Gaels are always there, you have the likes of Ballinagh, Gowna and Lacken as well…
“It’s always going to be tough in Cavan but with the panel we have and we did the business.”
Ramor had been six points ahead with the finishing line in sight when Ballyjamesduff outfit Castlerahan fought back to force a replay with a thrilling late rally in the drawn final. On Sunday Castlerahan led by five points to one before they retreated into a defensive shell and were picked off.
“Castlerahan have always been there and they had great experience from last year’s final against Kingscourt,” McEnroe reflected.
“I think that stood to them the first day when we were six points up – they kind of took hold of the game because they knew what they were doing.
“But we came through. There are a lot of young lads in our team and they have got the experience of winning a replay now.
“They’ve really stood up this year – it’s unbelievable the difference in them from last year to this year – the likes of Brian O’Connell and the Magees they’ve been unbelievable for us this year and we’ve got more young fellas coming through that were on the bench.”