By Michael McMullan
GLEN can report a clean bill of health ahead of this weekend’s Ulster semi-final showdown with Naomh Conaill.
For all the Watties’ underage adventures in Ulster, Saturday’s clash at O’Neill’s Healy Park will be their first-ever meeting with the Glenties side.
“Thankfully we came out (from the Cargin game) and there are no injuries,” said selector Johnny Bradley, also highlighting their contentment at two weeks of preparation time.
“With the Ulster Championship, you have that buffer where there are two weeks in between,” he said.
“In Derry, it was week on week that was very difficult. It was about getting the boys back out on the pitch and getting the recovery on the tiny knocks all sorted to get the boys primed.”
Going into their 0-11 to 0-7 win over Cargin, Bradley was aware of what was coming down the tracks given the Antrim champions’ win over Saturday’s opponents Naomh Conaill last year.
“They were coming off the back of beating Glenties and are a big physical side,” he said.
“They go for it at every opportunity and we knew it was going to be a real intense battle.”
Glen registered nine wides overall with their only goal chance falling to Alex Doherty who was denied by goalkeeper John McNabb.
“That’s the way the games go,” came Bradley’s response when asked if sharpening up their attacking game was high up the priorities ahead of the semi-final.
“We have, in certain games, been very good in front of the posts. You have to give Cargin credit for the pressure they put on us but it wasn’t good.
“We were happy in that we were getting boys into positions to get shots away.
“If we had a few of the shots going over at half time it would’ve helped a little bit.”
Naomh Conaill had seven wides in their win over Gowna but Martin Regan’s side have made a name for being way more economical than that.
It’s something that isn’t lost on Bradley, who has wealth of experience in performance analysis.
“You are always looking to improve for the next game and that is definitely one of the areas,” he said of Glen’s shot selection.
“If you look at Donegal football, against Glenties you have to be able to take your chances. If you look at their semi-final against St Eunan’s, Eunan’s had 11 wides and Glenties had one.
“There is a very good example of Ulster being at the time of the year that it is, you have to take your chances. It is always something you have to get right.”
With Scotstown nipping Kilcoo with the last kick, Kevin McGettigan’s winning goal for Naomh Conaill against Gowna and Trillick holding Crossmaglen scoreless for the second half, the quarter-final stage had its share of stories.
“That’s the beauty of it and that’s why it is a special competition,” Bradley said.
“If anything, it proves you can’t take anything for granted and you have to focus in on the things that you are working on and looking at who is next.
“That’s the beauty of the Ulster Championship, county and club. Coming out of county with a bit of momentum, anything can happen so that’s the beauty of it.”