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Donaghmoyne will be our biggest test yet insists Steelstown skipper Forester

Steelstown Brian Og's captain Neil Forester lifts the cup and roars with delight at club members after beating Greenlough in the Derry Intermediate Football Championship Final played at Ballymaguigan Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.
MICHAEL McMULLAN

UIster Club Intermediate Championship

STEELSTOWN are still searching for their best performance of the season insists Neil Forester.

After winning a first ever Derry championship, they now welcome Monaghan champions Donaghmoyne to Celtic Park on Sunday, a side the Brian Ógs skipper feels will provide their toughest test to date.

“We are going to have to be at the very top of our game,” Forester said.

“I feel like we have done a lot of good work and we have progressed a lot this year. If we can bring our right game plan to it, we'll be in a really good position.”

The former Derry player said they didn't score as much as they would've liked in their county final against Greenlough and were ‘a bit nervous' in their Ulster preliminary round win over Cloughaneely, a game they won more comfortably than the two-point margin suggests.

“We really dominated the ball for 10 minutes, but we didn't come away with the scores that we'd have liked,” he points out.

Forester refers to the ‘big match feel' of the Cloughaneely game, describing the game as almost having the ‘feel' of a county game about it.

Bar tough games with Castledawson and Greenlough, Steelstown waltzed their way through the Derry championship.

Donncha Gilmore, Oran McMenamin, Ben McCarron, Eoghan Bradley and Eoghan Concannon have county experience, something Forester – a former Derry player himself – feels will be an advantage this weekend.

“I don't have that time on the ball that I used to and it reminded me of my county days.

”The difference is a need to up the pace, the level and the standards. And ended their scoreless spells.

“That is not going to cut it any more at this level,” Forester adds.

"Especially against a good team like Donaghmoyne who are going to put you to the sword if we are not clinical or executing our basics as close to flawless.

“Sometimes, in the Derry championship, you had two bites at it if you were a forward to win a ball kicked in. Now, you have to win it first time, so there is no margin for error.”

How deep rooted has Steelstown's belief become after getting the monkey off their back of winning their first ever championship?

“It was such a big thing for us,” he admits.

Steelstown hadn't won as much as a league title. Their promotion to the intermediate and later the senior league came via the play-offs.

While Forester accepts the underdogs' tag on Sunday, he ‘100 percent' thinks his side can prevail.

“Winning that (championship) has nearly been a real accomplishment and nearly a fulfilment.”

They've watched the footage of Donaghmoyne's games and manager Hugh McGrath was an interested spectator at last weekend's league final win over Killanny.

David Garland and Liam McDonald are among the weapons Steelstown will face from the Farney men. Forester speaks of how Donaghmoyne collectively commit to attack and drive forward with pace.

“From what we've seen, this is going to be the biggest test of all our championship games so far,” he concluded.

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