GAA Football

Pomeroy master the art of crisis management

 Plunketts captain Hugh Pat McGeary
Francis Mooney

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AIB Ulster Club IFC final

Club teams up and down the country have followed the lead of the inter-county game by setting up with crude defensive systems, but few have found the secret of total football.

Players with the versatility to adapt to whatever role that may be demanded of them are a valuable, though scarce commodity, but Pomeroy have them in abundance.

An unforeseen crisis in the Ulster Club IFC semi-final illustrated the point perfectly.

Inside the opening 20 minutes, Pomeroy lost both their midfielders – Brendan Cunningham to injury and Ryan Loughran to a black card – but in an utterly complicated but entirely logical myriad of switches, order was quickly restored, and they came from six points behind to beat Castledawson by two.

“In county teams you see men playing corner-forward at one point and the next minute they’re in midfield. The likes of Sean Cavanagh could play full-forward in one match and then midfield,” said Plunketts captain Hugh Pat McGeary.

“It doesn’t really matter and at club level, our Kieran was playing half-forward moved to midfield and Frank Burns moved to half-back at a stage.

“For those players to adapt so quickly really showed to ourselves how versatile we are as a team and anybody we can bring on the players can move straight away and do a job.”

That emergency at the Athletic Grounds also demanded the involvement of a host of substitutes, and the bench was not found wanting either.

McGeary has placed his faith in a strong squad and as many as 21 players to give it one more triumphant push in Sunday’s provincial final against Donaghmoyne at Pairc Esler.

“The lads came on and it just shows that if you’ve a strong bench, then half the battle is done. Our lads have come on well this year and some days we’ve had to come on.

“All those boys coming on are good to have and we hope that they’ll do a job for us in the final as well.

“From what I’ve heard Donaghmoyne are very good. I know myself that we’re going to have a massive challenge to play well against them and we know that they’re a very strong team and especially to have come from five points down in the Ulster semi-final and to come back and win was very good for them.

“We know that a certain number of players are very dangerous and we’re going to have to adapt to that and raise our game bigtime to beat them.”

Centre-back McGeary anchors a solid defence, and he’s happy to be surrounded by quality players, two of whom – Denvir Nugent and Martin McKeever – won Ulster IFC medals back in 2004.

“I have never seen Denvir, Ciaran (McKenna) and all them boys in the defence playing as well. Sean Quinn came from corner-back to play free at midfield against Arva and got on so much ball.

“Sometimes you worry about the players beside you, but Martin McKeever and Denvir Nugent have Ulster medals in their pockets already so I have nothing to worry about experience wise.”

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