Steelstown corner forward Morgan Murray has grabbed his chance at senior level. Pic by Mary K Burke.
Morgan Murray and Steelstown have their focus set on the club’s first ever Ulster intermediate final against Moortown at Glen on Sunday.
Steelstown are coming off the back of their first ever championship and they hope their support on the sideline will help them push on again and double their success.
Murray admits his side will have to ‘dig deep’ against a strong team in what are likely to be tough conditions.
“It’s evident after the county final that our fans played a big part in helping us over the line,” he said.
“The support from them throughout the game was unbelievable and once that final whistle went, it was emotional celebrating with huge club figures who have been there so long.
“It’s a special feeling having your family there on the day too, and when we got over the line, having them there made the victory that much sweeter.”
Winning the county final was special, says Murray. Pic by Mary K Burke.
The 21-year-old also added how he expects another big turnout despite the weather conditions.
An All-Ireland semi final is the prize for the winners, but Morgan insists the ‘Ógs’ are not looking that far ahead.
“We don’t like to get too far ahead of ourselves, we always just take it one game at a time,” he said.
“Obviously, if the situation comes that we’re in an All-Ireland semi final, we will be more than prepared, but at the minute, Moortown on Sunday is where our focus lies.”
This is Morgan’s first year on the senior side after impressing last year with Steelstown’s reserve team.
Murray admits it was a difficult campaign for himself last season with injuries and missing out on senior football.
“I was training with the seniors but wasn’t getting to play with the seniors, so I was playing reserve football,” he said.
“That was disappointing, and injuries didn’t help, but it just motivated me to push myself on to demand my place on the senior squad.
“Reserve football gave me the opportunity to enjoy my football again.
“And as I said, I was still in around the seniors, seeing how far they had gone having reached the final and seeing that togetherness, it gave me the drive to be part of it.”
The left-footed forward’s drive and determination in last year’s campaign has landed him where he is today in the Steelstown senior squad.
“Thankfully this year, my coaches have put a lot of faith in me and that’s pushing me to perform week in week out,” he said.
“I’m very grateful to have had a big part in the team this year and winning the club’s first ever Championship is something that will stay with me forever.”
The Pennyburn man has scored a championship total of 5-12 and earned his place in the County Derry Post’s Intermediate Team of the Year for 2021 – alongside seven of his teammates.
Going into the final, Moortown have an average of 5.5 points conceded per game while Steelstown sit at 11.4 points.
The Derry men are typically big scorers in their games, but Morgan played down the significance of the statistics.
“I don’t think they’re relevant, to be honest,” he said.
“It’s an Ulster championship final so anything can happen, but I’m confident that come the final whistle, we’ll have done enough to win the game.”
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