As Gary McDaid said minutes after the game, who would have thought ten years ago that Glenswilly would be in an Ulster senior club final
Sunday’s Ulster semi-final win over Roslea wasn’t spectacular but there was also something workmanlike about it and that is the main trademark of the club under the management of Gary McDaid.
The St. Eunan’s College teacher has turned a very good club side into one that is now challenging for the top honour in Ulster.
Their success is no fluke. It is down to their meticulous preparation, from Philip O’Donnell’s colourful cones, to the re-invigorated Colin Kelly up front. They have an extensive backroom team and all of them know their roles.
Kelly’s return was one of the final cogs needed but it is the overall team effort which makes Glenswilly one of the most difficult teams to play against.
On Sunday there were ominous signs in the opening minutes when Seamie Quigley won the first few balls sent in.
But Glenswilly re-organised and got a man behind and in front of Quigley and another to get the break. Soon Quigley was roaming from goal looking for ball and the threat was gone.
The change of tactic meant that Glenswilly had to forfeit possession around the middle, but they have players willing to put in the workrate to make it difficult for the opposition, and that’s what makes them tick.
They also know that they will have to be more clinical when it comes to taking all their chances as they prepare for the Ulster final against Ballinderry.
There were goal chances that went abegging on Sunday and if you want to succeed on final day, then those chances have to be put away. Then when you have Michael Murphy close to the end of a move, then you are likely to get those correct decisions.
On Sunday there were some marvellous displays from the foot soldiers of the club with Joe Gibbons getting the most important point of the game after Roslea’s second goal. Gibbons, named in the forward line, did most of his good work in defence, and even though he was responsible for the Roslea penalty, he took the responsibility when winning a ball in midfield, to break a tackle and saunter forward to put his side three up again.
That sort of response is what separates the good teams from ordinary sides. Glenswilly will need more of that sort of leadership on Sunday week because Ballinderry are much, much tougher opposition than Roslea.
But it was Gibbons who said after the game that Glenswilly did their partying after the 2011 Donegal final. This time around they want to test themselves at the next level.
With Gary McDaid at the helm who would doubt that they create another piece of history and follow St. Joseph’s into the Ulster Senior Club Championship winners’ list.