By Michael McMullan
IT’S a different code but there’s still an Ulster buzz in Glenravel as they prepare Sunday’s date with Glenullin at Celtic Park.
There have been hurling, ladies’ football and camogie ventures in recent seasons and the men carry the torch this week.
After losing to Dunloy in last season’s championship finale, Joe Cassidy’s side went one better and added promotion back to the top flight for 2024.
“The winning feeling has been brilliant and there was a relief because two defeats in a row would’ve been very hard to take,” admitted joint captain David Higgins.
“Within the club, it has been a big lift for us and we feel we need to keep pushing on because our youth has really been pushing.”
For all the progress in recent times with underage at its foundation, the senior silverware was a must. The most prominent stepping stone on the path back to senior football. Back to where the club feel they belong.
“There was a real enjoyment in the club surrounding it, to finally get another win under the belt,” Higgins added.
It was a victory that began all the way back in the depths of defeat. As Dunloy celebrated their win, Glenravel made an unwritten pact.
There was only one thing, going one better.
“All we were thinking about was getting back here next year,” Higgins said of a desire that never ebbed away.
“It was a full year of waiting and it kept the fire going and that helped along with getting promoted in the league.
“We needed to get back to that level, getting the win in the final it was that bit sweeter because we lost the final the year before and we righted the wrong.”
And all of a sudden, it’s the game story their opponents Glenullin carry into Sunday after their hammering last season.
After “five great days” of partying, Cassidy had the Glenravel squad back in training. The had a five-week gap but by the following Tuesday night, Ulster was in their sights.
“We were back at and it getting in shape to get the work done,” Higgins said.
“We know Ulster is going to be a big step up so we had to put the work in for it. Around the year there is a lot of chat and last year the camogs had their full campaign to the All-Ireland title. It was the same with the hurlers and the ladies (football team).
“The buzz has transferred across and it was about enjoying it and keeping it going with the support travelling.
“The supporters are happy to keep coming to these matches and hopefully we can give them a few more.”