WINNING last Sunday’s promotion play-off against Gortin was perhaps more about pride rather than progression for a delighted Loughmacrory manager Gary Conway.
The barnstorming win that kept Conway’s side very much in the promotion race came a week after a hard to accept loss to Beragh that ended their hopes of automatic promotion.
“That loss to Beragh was tough on us, yes very disappointing,” explained Conway, who was delighted with the response from his players.
He continued: “We had worked so hard to get into the position in the first place. To be fair, after that game and the way we lost it we just knuckled down again and regrouped.
“The boys trained hard all week and to be fair they produced a good performance.
“We haven’t been beaten at home all year and we wanted to maintain that record. We had a point to prove. We wanted to confirm our place in the play-off’s too.”
Conway’s side had bossed the clash with Gortin and they eased to a nine point win in the end with Pauraic Meenagh hitting an impressive 2-6 and veteran Stephen Donaghy coming off the bench to hit 1-1.
The emphatic nature of their performance was a direct result of the defeat a week earlier: “We had chances against Beragh but we failed to take them and on that occasion we were punished,” Conway observed.
“The lads were determined that wouldn’t happen again, they all stepped up but I know that we have another step up next week now as we face Owen Roes, which will be a massive task for us.”
The Lough manager was delighted with the quality of last Sunday’s performance and he was especially proud that Conall Grimes had earlier in the day been called up to the Tyrone set-up.
“It’s a great boost for Conall, he deserves it,” Conway added. “He has been one of our better players over the past couple of seasons. I suppose Conall had a role there – a man to man job – and he did it well.
“That might not be what Mickey [Harte, Tyrone manager] wants of him but he will step up and do whatever is asked of him.
“It’s great for Conall. Anton Fox and Cathaoir Gallagher, along with Conall, have been with the Tyrone under-20s all year and they have come on so well. They played with them and with us when they could, they are so committed.”
The focus for the time being remains promotion but Conway wants more from his players ahead of a tough encounter with Owen Roes later today.
“This wasn’t the route we had planned for but I think we showed we are up for it,” he explained.
“[Today] will be a step up. Owen Roes have some great players. Barry Tracey the manager is a good man too.
“They play a different style of game, they are up for the play-offs but yes we won’t be far way ourselves. We will go into the game with plenty of confidence. We will take positives from this win.”
It has been a long season but as Loughmacrory prepare for the game with the Glenmornan side, who have top scorer Cathal McShane leading the line, Conway is delighted to have had the chance to give everyone a run out ahead of what will be a tough encounter.
“We are not looking past Owen Roes,” he confirmed. “We know we deserve to be here, but we had a few positional and personnel changes [against Gortin] and they worked
“We gave players game time. All that’s important ahead of this week’s game.”