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Sam Maguire aims to lift Kickhams to All-Ireland

By John Campbell

KICKHAMS Creggan have already won their Sam Maguire – and he will be playing a key role in their All-Ireland club Intermediate Hurling Final replay against Waterford and Munster champions Ballysaggart today in Mullingar.

Sam, indeed, is the durable midfield ace who has done much to bring the Antrim and Ulster champions to the threshold of All-Ireland glory.

But the player, whose driving surges from the central proved a highlight of the team's performance in last Saturday's drawn game, believes that the Kickhams outfit must "tighten up considerably" at the back.

"We conceded five goals the last day but it must be remembered that defending starts from number 15. We all must put our shoulder to the wheel and try and ensure that the Ballysaggart attack is not allowed to tot up a big score again. We have to tighten up considerably," maintains Sam.

It is perhaps appropriate in a sporting context that a plumber should be pinpointing leaks but this effervescent 24-year-old is also convinced that the Ulster champions' attack has the capacity to flourish again.

In recording 2-21 in the drawn contest, they revealed a remarkable ability to take points from all angles and distances.

"We have boys like Eoin McCann, Conor McCann and Kevin Rice who are very sharp when chances present themselves and I only hope that they see plenty of the ball tomorrow," said Sam.

Their defence may have erred on the side of generosity last week-end but, in Martin Johnston, Kickhams Creggan have a defensive pillar.

Johnston's imposing presence and his ability to quickly transform defence into attack offer Kickhams Creggan encouragement for a match that could carry a distinct physical edge.

"We have to admit that Ballysaggart were very fast and physical in the drawn game. We have to be on our toes," stated Sam.

Kickhams Creggan chairman Tony McCollum is adamant that the side can rise to the occasion.

"These boys really don't know when they are beaten, their courage is boundless," he stresses.

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