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Accies coach tells players to refocus

Neil Brown on the attack in the Junior Cup Final

Neil Brown on the attack in the Junior Cup Final

OMAGH Accies coach Phil Marshall has told his players to lick their wounds and get their minds quickly back of the task of challenging for the Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship One title.

On Tuesday evening the Accies suffered a bitterly disappointing 17-3 defeat to Ballynahinch seconds in the final of the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup Final at Ravenhill’s Kingspan Stadium.

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It was the second time in three years that Omagh had been jilted at the alter in the showpiece decider.
In fact, it’s been almost 24 years since the prized silverware has been placed in the Coneywarren trophy cabinet.

The quest to bridge that gap though can wait to another day. Marshall wants his players to get their focus back on the league campaign and, in particular, Saturday’s difficult trip to Dromore.
Omagh are currently third in the table, four points behind leaders Portadown but with two games in hand.

“We are bitterly disappointed tonight,” said the no-nonsense Omagh coach

“I’m fed up coming here and losing but our focus has always been the league.

“It’ll be hard to get the guys up but we have a massive game on Saturday away to Dromore, a tough, tough game.

“We wanted a decent cup run, which we’ve got but our priority was a minimum of top two or three in the league or maybe winning it.

“It’s down to us to refocus these guys and get them back onto the paddock on Thursday night.

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“There are a lot of sore bodies, mentally and physically, but on Saturday we will be looking a rebound.

“Two years ago we lost up here and went on to win the league, albeit Qualifying Two.

“That’s the reaction we want. We want a real positive reaction to this and that’ll tell us everything we want to know about the players.

“Ultimately we want to get to the top of this league and stay top of this league.

“After this defeat Dromore will be licking their lips and will be dying to get at us on their patch.

“ Saturday is the kind of game that could define our season.

“I told the players I want them back on training pitch in a postive frame of mind because we still have a lot to play for.

“We’re on a learning curve, some day we’ll come up here and win and it’ll be all the sweeter for it.”

Reflecting on where is all went wrong on Tuesday evening, Marshall admitted his players were way off the pace in the first half.

“That first half was arguably our worst display of the season,” he added.

“We never got into the tempo of the game, never challenged at the break and physically the players weren’t there.

“Ballynahinch didn’t have to work hard for their two scores. We made it easy for them

“We talked at half-time and I was delighteed with the character in the second half.

“We had a couple of early chances. Had we got over the line then it would probably have been a different game.”

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