Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Gormley looks to St Gall's

Belfast boys to make case for the defence

When Antrim participated in the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup competition earlier this year, they showed an alarming tendency to leak goals.

But manager Jody Gormley is hoping that this shortcoming can be addressed when his team swing into action come January - the threatened GPA strike permitting, that is.

If Gormley requires any reminding that there is still a supply of defensive talent, then he should find it at Newry tomorrow where the St Galls rearguard is gearing up for its biggest test of the year - and that's despite the fact that the Rangers attack has not been at its sharpest of late.

St Galls manager Paul Duffin is all too aware that the slightest mistakes will be punished by a Rangers side famed for their ability to stay the course and apply a killer punch.

" We know Rangers are so difficult to beat especially in finals. You look at their record and you know that they are a special team," says Duffin.

He's fortunate, though, that in Simon Kennedy, Andrew McLean and Sean Kelly he has three top-class defenders - players that Jody Gormley will be keen to see make a big impression.

St Galls have proven frugal in terms of conceding goals to date and that will prove a considerable comfort going in against Donal Murtagh's men.

The Antrim champions can take heart from the fact that Dromore recovered from conceding a two-goal first-half blast in last Sunday's semi-final to get back on level terms before being edged out in the end by a solitary point.

With Ronan Gallagher as their last line of defence, St Galls boast a custodian who is a noted shot-stopper as well as possessing a booming kick-out.

But the Fermanagh man is hoping to have an idle afternoon tomorrow and will be happy to see play contained in the opposite half of the immaculate Pairc Esler.

"We feel that if we can keep it tight at the back, minimise errors and make the most of the chances that come our win we might be in with a big chance of winning. But you have to be prepared for all eventualities when you are playing against a team like Crossmaglen Rangers," says Gallagher.

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