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Omagh must build on Cross win, says Connor O'Donnell


Well placed: Connor O’Donnell (left) says Omagh are in good stead

Well placed: Connor O’Donnell (left) says Omagh are in good stead

?INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritcha

Well placed: Connor O’Donnell (left) says Omagh are in good stead

Omagh St Enda's attacker Connor O'Donnell has said that their incredible victory over Crossmaglen Rangers in the Ulster quarter-final will mean nothing if they cannot go on to beat Donegal champions St Eunan's in tomorrow's Ulster semi-final (Celtic Park, throw-in 2.30pm).

"It is a big thing beating Crossmaglen," the talented inside forward said. "But afterwards, it wasn't as good as winning the county or anything like it.

"They weren't the team they used to be, either. We know they were definitely beatable and if we couldn't beat them then someone else in the competition could have very well beaten them."

That win brought Omagh from 11/2 to beat Cross to 6/4 favourites to win Ulster for the first time ever.

"It's interesting when you see people talking about how your odds have been completely sliced for Ulster," responded O'Donnell.

"There are still good teams left and the thing is that you don't get any medals for beating Crossmaglen, nor do we for getting to a final. We still have two tough games to get an Ulster title.

"We have to get clued into other teams as well, beating Crossmaglen, as good as it was, is only a means to an eventual end."

Last weekend he deliberately stayed away from O'Donnell Park, Letterkenny, where St Eunan's beat Fermanagh champions Roslea Shamrocks. He had an interesting take on avoiding watching future opponents.

He said: "No disrespect to Roslea, but they weren't in good form. They didn't play well and they didn't put up a good fight. You might think differently or come away with a different opinion of St Eunan's because of that.

"In a closer game they could rise to the occasion, but from all reports, they won it at a canter.

"You would rather have the right men going to watch it for the right things, than players going and getting sucked into a way of thinking, or writing off a player who may be having an off-day."

By now, St Eunan's are well used to peaking for weekend matches, having got through the past few weekends unscathed. Omagh, meanwhile, had five weeks between winning their first Tyrone county title in 26 years and the Crossmaglen win. As a result, it took them the first quarter of that game to warm to their task.

"There are two sides of the coin," is O'Donnell's assessment.

"You could say that momentum is with them or they could be tired. They wouldn't be training heavily between games so they would be relatively fresh. Nothing beats playing football every Sunday, so they would definitely be match-fit.

"We have had good preparations because of Tyrone going out early (of the All-Ireland series) and we have had our county boys there. But I would like to think we are in good stead."

Belfast Telegraph