Glenswilly content in uncharted waters

Alan Foley


Alan Foley

Glenswilly content in uncharted waters
Back in 1982, Glenswilly GAA club was founded in the same year that St Gall’s from Belfast won their first ever Ulster club championship.

Back in 1982, Glenswilly GAA club was founded in the same year that St Gall’s from Belfast won their first ever Ulster club championship.

Thirty-one years on and the Foxhall club continue to evolve and develop. They are comfortable in the environment in which they find themselves.

There wasn’t the same level of hysteria after Glenswilly’s 1-10 to 0-10 win over the 2010 All-Ireland club champions compared to the pitch invasion that followed the 3-19 to 2-6 RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta SFG final victory over Killybegs last month.

But for manager Gary McDaid and his players, privately, they knew they had scaled their biggest height to date.

“It’s something we will remember for a long time,” McDaid said a few days after letting the dust settle.

“Winning against St Gall’s shows the progression that we’ve made as a club over the last few years and particularly in the last 10 months.

“They are definitely the best club side we have ever played. Even beforehand, trying to work out the match-ups was a nightmare. They have so many good players.

“It was a fantastic scalp but we want to put it behind us right now.”

Having led Glenswilly to a first ever senior title in 2011, McDaid stepped aside last year and kicked some ball with the club’s reserves.

However, after relegation from the All-County Football League Division One last season, McDaid re-inherited a panel with bruised confidence.

Now, succeeding even perhaps their own wildest of expectations, Glenswilly have an Ulster club championship semi-final to look forward to on Sunday week against Roslea Shamrocks.

Dare it even be said, Glenswilly have probably blown their underdogs’ cover and will enter Healy Park in Omagh as favourites.

“We never really look at it as we’re favourites or not,” McDaid added. “We have just been trying to get a system of play in place that suits the players we have. That’s our goal. Then we factor in how we can limit the opposition.”

With All-Stars Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy in their ranks, Glenswilly have some inter-county experience they can draw upon.

“Neil and Michael are fantastic voices in our dressingroom but I’ve noticed we’ve got more and more men now who are willing to talk,” McDaid said. “It’s good to see.”

Glenswilly continue to take giant steps and are 60 minutes away from being only the third Donegal side - after Killybegs in 1991 and Naomh Conaill three years ago - to make an Ulster club final in a generation.

“We will never look too fat ahead and all we are doing now is looking at Roslea,” McDaid said.

“They’ve won three out of the last four Fermanagh championships and had a good win over Ballinagh, the Cavan champions, so are experienced at this level.”