Joe Kernan: Lawn and his Cookstown team flying flag for Tyrone and Ulster
Maybe Armagh and Tyrone are not viewed as bosom buddies in a football context but I must take my hat off to the Cookstown club who have reached the All Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship final.
They have done so through an amalgam of skill, spirit and character and have rightly earned the support of every Ulster follower when they confront Kerry and Munster champions Spa in the decider.
Cookstown made a modest start to their Tyrone championship campaign but increased appreciably in confidence and looked very impressive when they overcame Monaghan Harps in the Ulster final.
Now that they have won their way into the All Ireland decider, they will feel, with every justification let it be said, that they can bring home the trophy.
Manager Chris Lawn showed sterling qualities as a player with Tyrone and his performances at full-back often thwarted Armagh. Now he has brought the same attributes of defiance, skill and single-mindedness that marked his playing career to the managerial table.
Cookstown play with an inner belief and a focus that have obviously been instilled in them by Chris who believes in keeping things simple. He will not have recourse to jargon nor are his tactics convoluted. Instead, he elicits the maximum effort from his players because of the manner in which he is getting his side to play. Having sampled All Ireland club glory as manager of Crossmaglen Rangers, I can confirm that it is a great feeling. The Cookstown players, their families, friends and fans are in line for an unforgettable experience and I wish them every success in their attempt to reach their pinnacle.
St Galls, too, have their sights firmly fixed on All Ireland glory in not one but two codes. They will meet Corofin in the All Ireland Senior Football semi-final and although a handful of my Galway players will be in action for Corofin, I’ll be keen to see St Gall’s do well. The west Belfast club has also reached the Intermediate Hurling Club final.