All Ireland intermediate win whets Oughterard's senior appetite

New boys Oughterard face the daunting challenge of squaring up to Corofin in this season's shortened senior football championship, but it is a task the Corrib club is relishing.

The early pairing of newly-promoted All Ireland intermediate champions against their senior counterparts in round one of this season's 2020 senior championship in Pearse Stadium on Sunday August 10 is capturing attention. And Oughterard manager Tommy Finnerty says the players are "absolutely thrilled" to be able to test themselves against the best when they open their season in Pearse Stadium on Sunday August 10.

"Of course it will be a huge test - up against the best club in Ireland. But we see it as an opportunity and one to really look forward to. We do realise the challenge, and know we will have have to be at our absolute maximum to be able to compete."

The entire village and its surrounds is aware of the enormous task ahead, he says, but given that it has taken 18 years for Oughterard to return to senor football, the enormity of the task is not lost on the current crop of players.

"We had always been a senior team, but when we were relegated, we found it awfully hard to regain it. That will be our challenge this season and our target. No team wants to go down, so that is a given."

Oughterard made history when they became only the second club from Galway to win the All-Ireland Intermediate Club title. They overcame Magheracloone from Monaghan in the All-Ireland Final by 2-16 to 0-12, producing a confident performance.

That victory has whetted Oughterard's appetite, and Finnerty says there is huge eagerness since winning the championship, particularly after the long delay to the championship start.

They have been boosted with the addition of two players. Former Galway player Joe Joe Greaney has returned after several years in London, while Damien Somers is a new recruit from Kerry and junior club runners-up St Senans.

While training has resumed, Finnerty believes there will be rustiness and mistakes in the opening championship rounds that comes with lack of match practice given the limited collective training before this year's championship start.

"In previous years we have been able to use the league to get up to speed, but this year we are straight into championship action, so I would imagine there would be some errors, particularly with the change in rules."

Finnerty believes the new mark where players must put their hand up or attempt to might have teething problems, particularly if a player is double marked.

"It puts the responsibility onto the referees - as if they don't have enough to do."

However Finnerty believes the key for Oughterard will be to perform to he best of their ability, and -'the rest will take care of itself".

"If we do that, we can create an awful lot of chances, and then it is also down to luck. It is a huge step up, we are ranked 17th team in Galway against the No 1 team in Ireland, so it is a huge task."


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