By Harry Shorthose
IT all comes down to this. After 16 rounds of games, there is no separating Crettyard United and New Oak Boys as they finished level on points at the top of The Nationalist Premier Division table. They will now face off in a play-off in Killeshin on Saturday. The two have been neck and neck all season.
“We didn’t expect to do so well this season,” New Oak manager Brian Quigley told The Nationalist. “We completely overhauled the squad this season and freshened it up. We have a large squad of 22 with only four players over the age of 21. We’re a brand new team. We kept a nucleus of the experienced players and added a couple of new young players and they’ve gelled well.
“We were expecting to just consolidate ourselves with a new team and build to push on next season but we’ve snuck our way in there and we’ll give it our all. Hopefully, the lads won’t let the pressure get to them, being so young. We’ve been the best two teams all season though and I think it’s nice that it comes down to a game between the two of us, I don’t think there is any fairer way to decide it,” he added.
After Hanover Harps sealed the title last year, Crettyard are keep to get back to the top of the tree in the Carlow & District League.
“We just about got over the line recently but the five league games [we had in hand on New Oak] are out of the way now and we can try and get back to playing with a little bit of freedom and express ourselves a bit more now the league monkey is off our backs,” Crettyard’s Patrick Brennan insisted.
“We know where we are now so we can kick on from there. We’ve been struggling with the pressure but that’s what pressure does to you, there’s no dead-rubber games at this stage of the season. We were completely outplayed by New Oak in both games this season but we will have a plan in place. It’s all about whoevers name is on the trophy and that’s where we aim to be. It’s a nice game to look forward to.”
The Nationalist Premier Division Play-off
New Oak Boys v Crettyard United
Quaker’s Field, Killeshin, Saturday, 6pm