Two-week break helped Maghery past Ramor United says Stefan Forker
MAGHERY hero Stefan Forker, who showed all his experience to drive his side over the finishing line in last Sunday’s Ulster Club SFC win over Ramor United, believes the two-week lay-off following the Armagh final may have helped his side.
The Cavan champions had just a week’s grace following their county final replay victory over Castlerahan, and Forker, who was instrumental in the crucial last-quarter against the Cavan men, insisted he always believed his team would finish the stronger.
“To be honest, Ramor had a week’s hangover to cope with, and some people would say that our hangover had lasted two weeks - but they had a very tough game in the Cavan final and we knew they would be bouncing in the early stages,” he said
“We seemed to be able to find space better in the last quarter, which proved to be crucial. Did the short period they had between games have a detrimental effect? I don’t know, but you could say we finished the stronger.”
Forker, who brilliantly fed off some sublime fielding by midfielder and captain James Lavery to hit crucial scores near the end, suggested that both his side’s defence and attack have had better days, commenting: “I don’t know how we came away with a three-point win but we did and that’s all that matters. Apart from maybe Gerard Campbell, I don’t believe we played well, and up front we spluttered a lot.”
The Armagh attacker was unwilling to reveal what Shane McConville had said at the break following an ordinary opening period, but he did stress: “Shane sometimes peddles a bit of doom and gloom, he certainly lets you know where you stand. He told us what the problems were and our job was to go out and fix them.
“At the end of the day, players win matches, and you had the likes of big Lavery running at them and winning frees. We also had lads who weren’t good for the whole game but were good for periods. Seamus [Forker] came on and Paul [Forker] also came on and did well, but we will need consistency for an entire game to progress any further in the competition.”
Two of Maghery’s unsung heroes, centre half-back Ciaran Higgins and midfielder Ben Crealey, came in for special praise: “Ben and Ciaran are very special players, physically they are in great shape, and they are both athletic,” he said.
“Possibly after this win they can go out and believe in themselves and play with youthful abandon. They inspire the old hands on the training ground and on the field of play.”
Maghery, playing in the Ulster championship for the first time after their historic Armagh triumph, now face five in-a-row Down champions Kilcoo in Newry on November 13 and Forker insisted he is looking forward to the prospect.
“Every team in the country would like to be in our position, it’s where we want to be at this time of year," he added.
“The Ulster series finishes at the end of November, so for the moment all the talk about this year’s events is on hold. Hopefully we can play for the entire 60 minutes in the semi-final.”