Kilcoo manager Jim McCorry has laid it on the line to his players as they prepare to take on the might of Crossmaglen Rangers in the Ulster club senior football championship final on Sunday week.
“I have told the boys that there is no easy way to win a major cup,” said McCorry.
“We beat the All-Ireland champions of 2010 on Sunday in the Ulster semi-final and now we have to meet the reigning All-Ireland champions in the final.
“How hard is that!”
But the man who has masterminded two Down championship titles within three years for a club that had not previously collected the honour since 1937 pinpoints what he believes are two key reasons why Kilcoo should enter the decider buoyed by self-belief.
“I think there is a special bond uniting these players,” said McCorry. “This is always evident when their backs are against the wall as has been the case on occasions in our championship run to date.
“They play for each other and their collective passion and commitment are just outstanding in my book.”
And he pinpoints the contribution that his substitutes can make when they asked to step up to the mark. Certainly McCorry’s reserve resources can play a key role against a Crossmaglen side that summoned on all their experience, craft and skill to terminate Errigal Ciaran’s interest in the series.
But the Kilcoo boss also recognises that the perennial Armagh champions are past masters at closing games out.
“While every one of our players will put his shoulder to the wheel and do their utmost, this will not guarantee us anything against a side like Crossmaglen,” he said.
“However, I feel that our mental and physical strength will stand us in good stead.
“Our fitness levels are better than they’ve ever been and tactically we have improved a lot.”
l COUNTIES can expect to have their accounts checked next year to make sure that their deals with managers are in order under the GAA's much-publicised crackdown on illegal payments.
The get-tough policy arises from consideration of a document prepared by director general Paraic Duffy early this year, which presented a stark analysis of a scenario which has troubled the GAA leadership for a long time.