Tuesday, February 27, 2024

CATHCART KEEPING TROOPS GROUNDED

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ROSEMOUNT chief Lee Cathcart has hailed the mentality of his side in reaching the last four of the Intermediate Cup, but insists the ultimate priority remains clinching promotion to the Amateur League top flight.

The Greyabbey club, who are firmly in the race for promotion at the top end of NAFL Division 1A, are preparing for a meeting with St Oliver Plunkett of 1B in the semi-finals of the competition on Wednesday evening as they bid to make what would be a first-ever appearance in the final.

It follows a run that saw Rosemount dump out last year’s beaten finalists Armagh City in addition to triumphs against Lisburn Distillery and latterly Donegal Celtic to set up a showdown at Blanchflower Park in six days’ time.

“We’ve been the underdogs in many of the games up to this point and people may look at us as favourites this time around with St Oliver Plunkett being one league below, but that’s not the case at all,” said Cathcart.

“Out of the three teams that we could have drawn, I would rather have got one of the other two. When you look at some of the results they [Plunkett] have been getting this season, I can see them coming up out of 1B,” he added.

“Similar to ourselves, they have come through the ranks and I know a lot of their players. They’re a strong side and as much as you can call them underdogs, I think it’ll be a very even game.”

Cathcart is adamant that while the opportunity to play in a cup final is one he and Rosemount would relish, it has to play second fiddle to their utmost target of promotion to the Premier Division.

“The league has always been a priority and the Intermediate Cup is a welcome distraction from that,” he continued.

“We still have around 11 games to go, so things could either work out brilliantly or we could end up with nothing.

“Confidence is high at the minute but there’s still a lot of football to be played. Our home form has been massive for us, I think it’s now five years domestically since we were last beaten at home. No matter who comes down to Greyabbey, be that Lisburn Distillery or Annagh United a couple of years ago, we do always fancy ourselves and the boys seem to step it up when the underdog tag is on us,” he said.

Another element of Rosemount’s season that has delighted their manager is the fact they aren’t reliant on a habitual goalscorer. While forwards Jordan Dalzell and Curtis Giltrap have weighed in with more than their fair share to date, the Rec have been able to count on other sources, with Cathcart singling out praise for one player in particular.

“Stephen Atcheson has been in double figures every year since I arrived at the club, which for a centre-half is brilliant. There have been plenty of occasions so far this season where our midfield and defence have pulled us out of holes.

“The boys never know when they’re beaten and the morale in the changing room is superb,” he said.

“We aren’t giving up hope on winning the league either,” Cathcart declared.

“Our focus is completely on getting out of 1A and into the Premier. It would be lovely to get to a cup final and to be walking out at Windsor Park, but everything is geared towards getting this club promoted.”

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