IF AGAINST all the odds Aghyaran are to win a first ever O’Neill Cup then they are going to have to do it the hard way.
The Division One new boys face holders Omagh at Strabane’s Sigerson Park on Saturday evening and St Davog’s boss Martin Greene is under no illusions what a tough ask its going to be for his players.
However the man who guided Derrygonnelly to three successive Fermanagh Senior Club Championship titles between 2015 and 2017 believes that if his team play to their potential they are capable of turning the form book on its head.
“When you are pitted against the current county champions, it’s going to be a tough ask,” said Greene, who also guided the Harps to two league titles during his time in charge.
“It’s an ask that we are massively looking forward to to be honest. It’s a first go at the senior championship for a number of years so to be pitted against Omagh is great.
“It’s creating an extra bit of buzz, they are a top notch team and the boys are looking forward to testing themselves against that level of opposition.
“We are underdogs going into the game but all I can ask of the boys is to be the best they can be and play smart football on the night.
“Tyrone is a very competitive championship as we all know. Omagh are hot favourites against us and one of the favourites to win Tyrone.
“We are under no illusions, we’ll have to play to the maximum of our ability and hope everything goes alright.
“That’s not to say we can’t cause Omagh a spot of bother too. We are looking forward to it massively.
“There are lot of strengths in the Omagh team, they are well documented. They have as good a forwards as anyone in the county, Ulster or further afield, so obviously we’ll have to negate them as well as try and play to our strengths as well.
“We like to think that we have a lot of good footballers as well. We have a good core of players and no shortage of leaders. Hopefully they can perform and if they do that then I’ll be happy.”
One look at the Division One standings underlines the magnitude of the task facing Greene and his players.
The St Enda’s are fourth and on course to contest the title while Aghyaran are currently 14th and fighting to avoid relegation.
That said there are signs that the frontiersmen are getting their act together. Before the extended break due to Tyrone’s All Ireland bid, Aghyaran drew at Donaghmore and, more recently, bolstered by the return of their county men Ronan McNamee and Ronan McHugh, registered a crucial 1-7 to 0-9 victory over basement rivals.
Despite their lowly position, Greene says his troops have been competitive in most games and insists that’s something his players need to bring to the party come Saturday evening.
“Hopefully we are still in the game with 10-15 minutes to go. We’ll have to match, if not better Omagh in terms of workrate, as I say it’s a test we are looking forward to.”