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Gourley keen to take Rock to All-Ireland glory at last

By John Campbell

Ciaran Gourley may have won All-Ireland medals with Tyrone in 2003, 2005 and 2008 but the 37-year-old Rock St Patrick's utility man has his heart set on another milestone on Sunday.

The St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon teacher will line out against Kerry and Munster champions Glenbeigh-Glencar in the All-Ireland Junior Club final at Croke Park determined to make it third time lucky.

It was back in 2008 that Gourley and Rock made their first acquaintance with the All-Ireland Club stage when they lost to Canovee (Cork) in the final before encountering further disappointment in the 2015 semi-final replay against Brosna (Kerry).

Now, the vastly experienced Gourley is hoping that his Rock side can make the big breakthrough on Sunday against a team that is spliced with talent.

But while Gourley feels Rock have a healthy level of experience alongside a generous fusion of youth, he acknowledges that they will need to reach a new peak if they are to make it a case of third time lucky.

"Our performance in the semi-final against Dunedin Connolly's would not do at all this Sunday," insisted Gourley. "We were sloppy at times in the first half. We then managed to put ourselves in a position to win the game."

Gourley still retains vivid memories of Rock's previous involvement in the All-Ireland series but insists that Sunday's mission represents "a whole new challenge for our club".

Yet his own form, the clinical finishing of Aidan McGarrity and Conor McCreesh and the overall spirit within the side suggest that they can make a bold bid for the title.

"We're now getting a third chance to become All-Ireland champions but we're meeting a Kerry side and I don't think I need to say more," observed Gourley. "Let's just say that this will be a whole new challenge for our club."

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