SEAMUS McCallan is confident he can maintain Carrickmore’s proud tradition in the red-hot cauldron of championship football, even if their early league form has been decidedly mixed.
The 15-time senior championship winners have slipped down the pecking order since clinching their last title in 2005 and slumped to their latest league defeat against Dromore at the weekend.
They currently sit a lowly ninth in the table at this relatively early stage – coincidentally where they finished in last year’s overall standings.
Rivals could legitimately jibe that Carrickmore are a mid-table side but McCallan insists that they have the raw ingredients to compete at the latter stages of the championship.
He said: “We have the players to make a mark in the championship and we are gearing this early part of the season towards the second half of the year – I suppose you could call it the business end.
“I have been lucky enough to have won a few championships. I lost a few as well but I know the stuff is there to challenge, the only problem is there are six or seven teams who are on the same level.”
He added: “But look it’s only May and we have a long road to go. It really is about that second part of the year.”
Carrickmore’s season highlight to date was a 1-10 to 0-10 win over Trillick ten days ago.
They failed to follow suit in a three-point loss against Dromore and McCallan admits he was disappointed by a dip in work-rate.
“I was disappointed by the way we dropped it down a gear or two from last week, but it is about learning and we can learn from teams like Dromore, they had a game plan and it worked for them.”
McCallan has been tasked with gelling the club’s galaxy of underage stars with experience-laden veterans like Conor Gormley and Martin Penrose.
He believes they have it well within their capacity to ruffle a few feathers in the championship.
“There’s a few new boys coming through and this is the time to give them a chance, we have a few stalwarts. Gormley, Donnelly, Penrose and Daly, but we are missing boys too. Others have to step up, the likes of Tiernan Murray, Ruari Grimes, lads like that are playing well.
“Look at the team list and you’ll see new names, but I believe we have the players and the quality to be there or thereabouts.”
RELEGATION-threatened Greencastle pushed the reigning league champions Dromore all the way at sunny Gardrum Park yesterday lunchtime.