GAA Football

James Lavery not getting carried away by Maghery's fine start

EARLY DAYS: Maghery's James Lavery is well equipped to gauge their start to the season Picture: Philip Walsh
By Padraig Kelly

EXPERIENCED Maghery midfielder James Lavery has said that he's long enough in the tooth to know that a good start to the Armagh League counts for very little at the business end of the season.

The Sean McDermott's outfit have made a blistering start to the campaign under new manager Finnian Moriarty and they sit top of the table on six points alongside Armagh Harps with Crossmaglen and Killeavy lurking a further two points back.

The former Armagh player has caught the eye in their wins against Dromintee, Cullyhanna and Silverbridge – but he's anticipating the biggest challenge of the season to date when they travel to Cross next weekend.

“Obviously we're happy with the start. When a new manager comes in there's always a bit of change so to get a few wins on the bounce makes that a bit easier,” Lavery said.

“There are a few younger players there but most of us have been about long enough to know that winning a few league matches now means very little in the long run.

“We've the week off now without a game then we're up in Cross. They had a big win in Ballymacnab and matches between us and Cross are usually good games.”

Moriarty has taken on the reigns in Maghery in his second year in management. Last season, in a player-manager role, he took home club Wolfe Tone to the Armagh Intermediate semi-final before they were ousted by Mullaghbawn.

Lavery knew Moriarty well even before he was appointed with the pair lining out together for years for the Orchard county, and he has been impressed with what he has seen from his former teammate in a managing capacity.

“I knew ‘Mo' from the county panel as we played a few years together with Armagh,” Lavery continued.

“He did well with the Tones last year and he's brought good ideas to the set up and you can see some of that over the first three games.

“He'll have the same opinion as myself though. These are early days and what you do in April will mean nothing when the season really gets going later in the year.”

Maghery may be top at present but a loss next weekend will see Crossmaglen draw level with them on points although it will take a nine-point win for the Rangers to actually move above them.

That seems highly unlikely against a Maghery side that has conceded just 0-21 in three games but Cross gave a reminder of their attacking ability when they travelled to league holders Ballymacnab last weekend and won 4-12 to 0-12. Mel Boyce, Kyle Carragher, Aaron Kernan and Paul Hughes scored their goals to secure an emphatic winning margin.

Cross have already lost at home this season to Armagh Harps and the Abbey Park men have recorded victories over Silverbridge and Dromintee either side of that win to keep alive their 100 percent record.

At the other end, newly-promoted Silverbridge and Dromintee still await their first points.

Silverbridge were competitive in their first two defeats to Armagh Harps and Ballymacnab although they did find Maghery much too strong last time out.

Dromintee have been defending well but their inability to get big scores at the other end has proven their undoing in their losses to Maghery, Killeavy and Armagh Harps.

Ballymacnab and Cullyhanna, under new management in the form of Stephen Reel, have both lost two of their opening three games – underwhelming returns for the two sides who fought it out for the Senior A crown last season.

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