By Niall Gartland
GLENRAVEL are back where they want to be after the disappointment of losing last year’s Antrim Intermediate Championship final, and manager Joe Cassidy hopes they give a much better account of themselves when they take on All Saints, Ballymena this Sunday.
The former Derry player acknowledges that the victors in last year’s final – Dunloy – have shown themselves to be a seriously formidable outfit who are now one step away from claiming the big senior prize.
But he still thought their performance on the day was a little disappointing and he hopes they do themselves justice this time around.
Cassidy said: “While we were only beaten by four points it was a four-point stuffing to be honest with you. Dunloy were just too good for us but we know ourselves we didn’t turn up on the day.
“The last few months have shown that Dunloy are a serious, serious outfit but we all have aspirations of excelling at senior level and Glenravel are no different, so it’s great to have another opportunity to get to that level.”
A bit of a sideshow to Sunday’s final is the derby element with Glenravel only a few miles up the road from their Ballymena-based opponents All Saints. Cassidy acknowledges that it adds an extra layer of intrigue to proceedings.
“Personally it makes no difference to me because I’m not a Glenravel man, but for the players it adds a lot of spice and I picked up on that when I came in last year.
“One of the first league games we played in was against Ballymena and there was definitely a different edge to it. We played against them four times in last year’s championship and twice this year and there’s definitely been a derby feel to all of those games.
“Most of the lads went to school in Ballymena so I’m sure there’s a bit of banter and slagging but it’s all part of it and it’s a huge occasion for both teams.”
Cassidy has been hugely impressed with the community feel to the Glenravel club and they’re excelling on a number of fronts with their camogie team Brídíní Óga winning last year’s All-Ireland Junior title. Now he’s hoping that the men’s footballers can join them by winning their own championship silverware.
“My mind’s been blown away by the club. Last year they won titles with the ladies and camogs and they’ve got hurling going as well. There’s not a night you go up there that the club isn’t choc-a-bloc and there’s a community-based gym.
“It certainly lives up to the mantle of what a club is supposed to be about. Yes winning titles is important and certainly adds to things but it’s also about providing for all members of the community and Glenravel certainly does that.”