An Port Mor captain Shane Nugent is convinced that teams at junior and intermediate level are now bidding to replicate the passion, intensity and physicality that senior inter-county teams display in their bid for success.
Nugent is preparing to lead his own side into the All-Ireland junior club series in the new year and makes no bones about what will be required if they are to attain further success.
“There is absolutely no doubt that teams at the lower end of the scale are stepping up on their intensity and fervour,” he said.
“They are clearly taking their lead from county sides. It is widely accepted that gaelic football is now much more physically demanding and a greater all-round effort is required for success no matter at what level you might be playing.”
In winning the Ulster club junior title at the weekend, An Port Mor undoubtedly raised the bar for other teams in terms of their meticulous preparation, innovative fundraising and high-intensity training.
“We knew going in against Brackaville in the final that we would have to pull out all the stops and the boys did just that,” said Nugent.
“We have been absorbing lessons over the course of the season and now that we have won both the Armagh and Ulster titles we have gained a lot of knowledge which we feel will stand to us in the future.”
An Port Mor, with their headquarters in the picturesque village of Blackwatertown close to the Tyrone border, parade a mixture of old and new faces with former Tyrone All Ireland winner Colin Holmes viewed as the ace in their pack.
The club’s administrative machinery moved into overdrive prior to last Saturday’s Ulster title triumph when a red card incurred by midfielder Mark Curran in the semi-final win over Monaghan champions Drumhowan was downgraded to a yellow on appeal thereby confirming the player’s eligibility for the final.
“I think both on and off the field clubs have to be really well organised if they want to be successful,” said Curran. “That’s why we are pleased with what we have achieved to date but we know that we have another mountain to climb when it comes to the All-Ireland series in the new year.”