GAA Football

Annaclone boss Clarke wary of Liatroim threat in semi

John Clarke's Annaclone face Liatroim in Sunday's Down IFC semi-final, with St John's and Rostrevor on the other side of the draw
Neil Loughran

Parador Lodge Down Intermediate Football Championship

ANNACLONE will be facing a side capable of competing in the latter stages of the senior championship when they take on Liatroim in Sunday’s Down IFC semi-final, according to boss John Clarke.

Although several dual players have also spearheaded the hurlers’ drive to the last four of the Down SHC the following weekend, the Fontenoy’s have been considered among the main challengers for the intermediate football crown from the outset.

Annaclone overcame Ballymartin to reach this stage and, in his first year at the helm, Clarke knows the size of the challenge that awaits his men in Castlewellan.

“We’re looking forward to it but we are underdogs, there’s no doubt,” said the former Down forward.

“Probably themselves and Rostrevor are the two clear favourites but, listen, we’re in with a good shout, I feel quietly confident about it. Liatroim have really good players – the McCrickards, big Liam Middleton, boys with a lot of experience, so they’re a strong outfit.

“They have a squad that would be capable of competing in the latter stages of the senior championship. They finished mid-table in Division Two as well whereas we came third in Division Three, but hopefully the underdog tag will suit us.

“Annaclone seem to thrive on that.”

Clarke has been able to call on some former county colleagues for the journey so far, with the experienced Kevin Anderson operating in a sweeper keeper role with Annaclone while Benny McArdle has flourished after calling time on his Down days following an injury-hit couple of years.

“Benny’s held up pretty well - in the past few months he’s really come good, you can see his leadership and the quality he has.

“This is the first year he’s had a full commitment for Annaclone and it’s been good for the younger lads to get the benefit of his experience.

“He’s a player for the big occasion, hopefully he can keep that form going into Sunday.”



GAA Football