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Mulholland is wary of Annaclone threat

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Mulholland is wary of Annaclone threat thumbnailSHAUN Parr will be hoping Rostrevor will lift the Intermediate Football Championship. Picture: Brendan Monaghan.

ROSTREVOR go into the Down Intermediate Club Championship Final as favourites but manager Shane Mulholland is wary of believing their own hype.

Their key player Caolan Mooney has recently been nominated for an All-Star for his performances for Down, while goalkeeper Jonathan Parr is the best in the county and his brother Shaun a calm finisher at the other end of the pitch.

This is Rostrevor's first ever time in the Intermediate Championship, so they should be expected to win it, but Sunday's opponents Annaclone are no dozers.

Managed by Drumgath man Justy Lynch, Annaclone have battled their way to the final with Kevin Anderson and Benny McArdle their main driving forces. The Clone are struggling at the wrong end of Division Two, whereas the Reds are pushing for promotion back to the top flight.

But Mulholland insists he won't be fooled by Annaclone's position in the League.

"I think they will be all guns blazing on Sunday as survival and an Intermediate Championship win would turn a disappointing year into a great season," said Mulholland.

"They play in a very structured way and they have come to the fore in the Championship and I won't underestimate them at all."

Rostrevor beat Annaclone as recently as last week in the League in what Mulholland described as "shadow boxing," and the Ballyholland native makes no apologies for putting the League ahead of the Championship, but that will hardly be included in his team-talk on Sunday.

"Our aim at the start of the year was to get promoted," said Mulholland.

"If you said to me that you will lose the Intermediate Championship Final but get promoted I would take that straight away but now we are in the final we want to win it."

Sunday's winners will represent Down in the Ulster Intermediate Club Championship and while the Reds manager accepts that prospect would be an honour, he believes it is foolish for him to look that far ahead.

"When we look too far ahead of ourselves we trip up, so we have been taking it game at a time. And as cliched as it sounds we don't look to far down the line."

Players such as Jarlath and Niall Farrell are the only members of the Rostrevor team to have played in a Championship Final, back in 2002, when the lost to that great Mayobridge side.

Undoubtedly Rostrevor see themselves as a Senior club that are unlucky to have gotten sucked into the Intermediate Championship but Mulholland wants his players to make hay when the sun shines and while nobody said it, a win on Sunday could be the start of a fantastic double.

"I said to the boys that you can go through your whole playing career and win nothing but I won three Intermediate Championships as a player with Ballyholland and they were great days and are brilliant memories," said Mulholland.

"The camaraderie, the celebrations - those are the days you remember - so it is such a nice thing and it would be a shame if we slipped up now."

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