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McEvoy is energised by Kilcoo's forceful spirit

Winning habit: Kilcoo’s Down title success of 2017 was their seventh such honour in eight years
Winning habit: Kilcoo’s Down title success of 2017 was their seventh such honour in eight years
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Seven Down Senior Football Championship titles in eight years have gained Kilcoo a position of eminence on the Ulster club front.

But having reached two provincial championship finals in that period, Kilcoo were forced to swallow the bitter pill of defeat against Crossmaglen Rangers (2012) and Slaughtneil (2016).

Now, with a line-up that has been amended through an injection of youth, the Magpies are buoyed by renewed hope as they focus on their forthcoming semi-final against Derrygonnelly Harps at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh on Sunday week.

And the management team of Mickey Moran and Conleith Gilligan believe that this will offer their more recent recruits the perfect opportunity to unveil their skills to the full.

Midfield dynamo Ryan McEvoy is among those who is particularly keen to share in what would be a history-making triumph, but the 20-year-old is all too aware that Kilcoo have been thwarted in the past when provincial success was within touching distance.

"The Ulster Club Championship is a big step-up for newer players like myself but we just focused on our own performance against O'Donovan Rossa last Sunday and this got us the win, which has taken us into the semi-final against Derrygonnelly," states the six-foot plus McEvoy.

"What has struck me since I came into this Kilcoo side is the absolute commitment of all the guys, yet at training every single night there is always a good vibe there."

"The spirit is just mighty within our squad. Everything revolves around football in Kilcoo, you can take that from me."

Along with goalkeeper Martin McCourt, defenders Anthony Morgan and Miceal Rooney and Dylan Ward up front, McEvoy represents the new breed of talent within a team that is still fired by ambition.

"The fact that the team has been so successful in Down drives you on to maybe get success in Ulster, but we know that we will be facing a mammoth task against Derrygonnelly, who have just won five Fermanagh titles on the trot and beaten a fancied Trillick side last weekend," points out McEvoy.

With competition for starting places razor sharp, McEvoy is keeping his nose to the grindstone for what many people view as a seminal test of Kilcoo's character.

"Having won so much in Down, the expectation has maybe increased that we can do better in Ulster, but we are certainly looking no further than Derrygonnelly. They are more than enough to have on our horizon when you think about it," smiles McEvoy.

"People are saying that with Gaoth Dobhair and Crossmaglen out of the mix the title is up for grabs, but then every team left will think they have a chance of winning it."

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