Ronan Austin is a man on a mission right now.
At the start of the year, a serious leg injury kept the former Armagh Under 21 sidelined and eventually forced his withdrawal from the orchard county senior squad.
But the versatile Clan na gael clubman is currently playing some of the best football of his career and will again have a key role when his club meet Armagh Harps in the county championship quarter-final replay at the Athletic Grounds tonight (7.30).
The six-foot-plus Ronan imposed himself forcibly at midfield in the second-half of the drawn game last Saturday and masterminded the Clans recovery after they had been eight points in arrears at one stage.
He will again come face to face with Gareth Swift tonight as the Lurgan side bid to prevent an all-Armagh city Harps v Pearse Og final becoming a reality.
“It was very frustrating being injured. I missed out on any involvement in the McKenna Cup and then found it difficult to get back in the groove but now that Clan na gael are pushing for a semi-final place, it’s a great incentive for us all to show consistency,” says Ronan.
His aerial ability and distribution will be key components of the Clans’ strategy tonight against a Harps line-up determined not to be caught napping for the second time within a week.
Charlie Vernon’s early goal appeared to have provided the side with the impetus to push on for victory last Saturday but they came unstuck in the second-half despite a six-point contribution from the reinvigorated Peadar Toal — an input that was matched by Clans marksman Paul O’Hagan.