Tiernan Kelly sets sights on Antrim champions after 'Gerry' comes home
TIERNAN Kelly hoped to meet some of his old team-mates from the St Ronan's College Hogan Cup-winning team of 2018 in the Ulster Club Championship.
But Aghagallon fell short in the Antrim final so Kelly and Clann Eireann will face Kickham's Creggan instead but the Armagh champions can rely on the same level intensity from their talismanic young midfielder no matter who the opposition is.
Kelly showed during the summer when he came off the bench to score goals for Armagh against Antrim and Monaghan (club team-mate Conor Turbitt did the same) that he is a combative and confident performer and he was pivotal to his club's effort on Sunday when they ended in a 58-year wait for the Armagh championship with a 2-12 to 0-16 win over Crossmaglen.
“Cross got on top for 10-15 minutes and the guys did well to get back into it,” said a smiling Kelly afterwards.
“We showed a bit of belief, a bit of character and it was meant to be.
“We believed it was our year, we had put the work in and we're as good a team as anybody on our day. We knew we needed to go out and put a performance in and if we did that Gerry would be coming home.”
‘Gerry' is of course The Gerry Fagan Cup which is named after the former Clann Eireann skipper who had accepted the cup on the other two occasions the Lurgan club had won it - 1954 and 1963.
Kelly's attitude epitomised the Clann Eireann effort. A serious competitor, he put himself about from the throw-in and contributed two points as well – the second was a superb effort from the touchline in the second half.
“You always come to win and if you don't come to win there's no point coming at all,” he said.
“A lot of hard work was put in over the years – before I was even born – to put the focus on the underage and we're starting to see the rewards of that now.”