By Niall Gartland
A MATTER of days after picking up a second senior medal in Glen’s win over Sleacht Néill, Paul Gunning is in the thick of preparing the club’s camogie team for a bash at the Ulster Championship.
Gunning, who manages the side with his father Sean, has said before that working with the camogs is a ‘healthy release’ from lining out with Malachy O’Rourke’s side, and it’s fair to say it’s been no impediment to success on either front.
Glen’s recent Intermediate Championship final win over Kilrea was another major stepping-stone for a side that won the delayed 2020 Ulster Junior Championship, and they’ll get a crack at playing in the senior ranks of Derry next season, where they will hopefully follow in the footsteps of Bellaghy who have made a successful jump in recent seasons.
“We’ve had a very good campaign so far. When my dad and I started up with the camogs three years ago, we set out three targets – to win a Derry league, Derry championship and get a crack at senior camogie, and now we’ve done that.
“Last Saturday was the final thing we had to achieve as a group. We knew Kilrea was going to be a massive test, they ran us to the wire in the 2020 final and were beaten by a brilliant Coleraine team last year who ended up winning the All-Ireland.
“We knew Kilrea were a top team with real pedigree. We believed we earned the right to play in the final, but we were conscious we were beaten out the gate by Newbridge last year, and thankfully things worked out well for us.”
While Glen won the Ulster Championship 12 months ago, Gunning doesn’t believe they’ve yet come across a team of the class of Cavan champions Crosserlough, who have enjoyed heaps of success at club and provincial level.
“You don’t have to do much research to know Crosserlough have won six of the last seven championships and they probably started their season with one eye on Ulster.
“A very strong Bellaghy team came out of Derry a few years ago and Crosserlough came to Bellaghy and beat them in Ulster.
“We’ve seen a bit of them and they’ve some fantastic camogs and it’ll probably be a test we haven’t faced yet. Having to go their backyard makes it an even more difficult prospect and we know to make any sort of game of it we’ll have to be at our absolute best.”