READ THE REID: Gleann tSuilí Abú

Donal Reid


Donal Reid

READ THE REID: Gleann tSuilí Abú
Glenswilly is the pride of Donegal right now after defeating former All-Ireland club champions St Gall’s in Ballybofey last Sunday in the quarter-final of the Ulster club championship.

Glenswilly is the pride of Donegal right now after defeating former All-Ireland club champions St Gall’s in Ballybofey last Sunday in the quarter-final of the Ulster club championship.

Although they have many star performers, the difference between the two teams was Michael Murphy.

The St Gall’s defenders could not simply handle Murphy.

Given his workload for Ireland in the International Rules Series recently as captain, it is incredible that he can churn out such great performances week-in and week-out.

Glenwsilly’s rise to prominence is truly inspirational and they are a terrific source of encouragement for other clubs teams in Donegal.

It is not that long ago that they were playing junior football. It is a credit to this rural club, who obviously has worked tirelessly down the years to progress to their current status. Glenswilly people are tough and resilient.

I know since my grandmother was a Glenswilly woman.

She used to visit my family regularly and took care of us if our parents had to go away.

It was like a boot camp. She had her work cut out with this blaggard though, but I succumbed eventually.

I remember a few incidents vividly when I was about eight or nine years of age.

Granny made porridge with buttermilk, proper buttermilk not the manufactured stuff that is available today. It was vile.

She would make a huge pot of it and it would last for days. I went on hunger strike. But after three days I ate the porridge without tasting it.

I had to because she locked away my football and denied me free time to play. I was forced to do manly chores around the house.

Like many households in those days we grew our own vegetables. Green beans were her favourite. The sight of them made me sick.

After school she had dinner prepared with a mountain of green beans piled on the poundies. Gary McFadden is probably the only player on the Glenswilly team who ate poundies.

Poundies, for those who have never heard of the name, is mashed potatoes mixed with scallions, milk and butter. Behind granny’s back I would stuff the beans into my pockets.

Once, she watched me eating and I had to put the beans into my mouth. I continued to eat the rest of the food with the beans remaining in my mouth.

As soon as I was finished, I ran outside and spat out the beans at the side of our house. I turned around and then she was, larger than life!

She took me by the ear and made me wash and dry all the dishes, sweep the floor and then sent me to my room.

“Wait till you father gets home and hears about this,” she said. That is another story! Anyway, granny from Glenswilly put manners on me and today I am so grateful for her no-nonsense approach.

So Glenswilly senior football team will now go on to play Fermanagh champions Rosslea in the Ulster semi-final.

I know little of their opponents - suffice to say - but this is a great opportunity for the Glen men to reach the Ulster club final. It sincerely hope so.

It will not be long before inter-county football resumes again. The respective provincial warm up competitions are due to commence in January in preparation for the Allianz League.

The McKenna Cup in Ulster should provide Donegal with decent competitive games in the lead up to our important Allianz League campaign, which begins on Sunday, February 2, with an away fixture to Laois.

The other teams in our league are Galway, Louth, Monaghan, Armagh, Down and Meath. There certainly will not be any room for complacency.

Our first two games are away against Laois and Galway respectively. It is important that we get maximum points to ease the pressure for the forthcoming fixtures.

It seems like a long time ago when Donegal had their last outing. Our heavy defeat to Mayo will only serve to add spice and hunger to the Donegal lads.

Except for the Glenswilly’s inter-county contingent, the rest of the players will have had that much needed break from the intensity of the inter-county scene.

The league is a while away yet. In the meantime we will follow the Glenswilly men in their quest for Ulster glory and who knows, even All-Ireland glory. Gleann tSuili Abú!