'It's about getting the job done' - Dungannon's Chris Rafferty
THE remnants of Storm Agnes won’t faze a Dungannon side that battled atrocious weather conditions to come through last weekend’s first round clash with Eglish, winning comfortably by 1-10 to 0-4.
It was all about getting the job done, with limited opportunities to implement strategies and showcase the talents of their top players, according to manager Chris Rafferty.
“The job of any team in the first round is to get to the next round, and it’s good to be in the hat,” he said.
“You don’t want to be knocked out in the first round of the Championship, and the year over, so we’ll look forward to the quarter-final.
“It was difficult for both teams, it evens everything out, and nobody gets to play their best, and it’s nobody else’s fault.
“In fairness, I thought the Edendork pitch was in fantastic condition and it did stand up well, but not withstanding that, at the end of it, it was very heavily waterlogged, but that’s just winter football.”
Paul Donaghy struck the greasy ball beautifully with both feet, hitting eight points to guide his side safely to a quarter-final meeting with Dromore, but sound defensive structures were the key, with just four points conceded.
“They’re very good at taking on instructions, they do what you ask them to do.
“Eglish came with a very specific game plan, and we just had to match theirs, and make sure that we didn’t let them run from too deep.
“We worked hard on that, and the forwards worked particularly hard to stop people coming out.”
The energy and dash of the Jones brothers, Dalaigh and Ryan, and the McKearney siblings, Mark and Patrick, set the momentum for a Clarke’s team that likes to keep the ball moving fast.
“You have the McKearneys and the Joneses, and they’re very good with their hands, and they’re very good at finding space in tight areas.
“You add Oisin Cowan into that, and it means that teams have to go after you. They very rarely give away the ball, and that entices teams out and allows us to hit them on the break.”
And Rafferty is hoping that the prolific Donaghy can maintain his strike rate at Dunmoyle on Sunday, and fire the 2020 champions into the last four at the expense of the 2021 winners.
“He’s very reliable, he keeps at it. He really does work hard on his game, and you can see it every day. He’s an easy fellow to work with.”