BY KIERAN LYNCH
WATTY GRAHAM’S, Glen are hoping to reach their first ever Ulster Senior Football Club Championship final, when they take on Cargin in the semi-final this Sunday.
Last year, Glen’s first-ever venture in the competition came to its conclusion at this stage, as they were edged out in a nail-biter by Kilcoo, who went on to claim All-Ireland glory. However, whilst Glen assistant manager Michael McCullagh believes that they can learn lessons from last year, the past is the past, and they have laser focus on this weekend’s opposition.
“Any time you lose a match, you always learn from it; but that was last year,” said McCullagh.
“Last year is in the past, and we’re only focussed on this game, because every game is unique, and we’re only looking at Cargin.”
Glen opened this year’s Ulster campaign with a win over Tyrone champions Errigal Ciaran, in an end-to-end contest, which they won 3-10 to 1-12 after 60 minutes of pulsating football.
That win may have won Glen plaudits nationwide, but McCullagh still believes that they need ‘a big improvement’ ahead of this weekend.
“We definitely took confidence from it, especially after coming back from being four points down at half time” he explained.
“We wouldn’t be entirely happy with the first-half performance, but there were improvements made in the second half, which we take encouragement from. But overall, we need a big improvement for the Cargin game.
“No matter how well you play, you’ll always find areas for improvement, and that’s the case after the Errigal game, because it was a game that could have gone either way.”
When you’re still playing in the middle of November that means you must be doing something right, and for Glen, the buzz continues to grow, with each passing victory.
“The mood is good; it’s great to be playing at this time of year,” said McCullagh.
“We’re almost into December now, and it brings a great buzz around the club, and the boys are really enjoying their football at the moment.
“But as it stands, we only have one game left, and that’s how we have to treat it. Our focus at the minute is solely on Cargin.”
As for Cargin, they’re a team Glen will know much about, as the two clubs are separated by only 12 miles. Cargin come into the game off the back of a penalty shoot-out win over Naomh Conaill, and two extra-time victories in the Antrim semi-final and final, against Creggan and Aghagallon respectively.
“They’re not actually too far from us – they’re only down the road I suppose, so we would know a bit about them,” said McCullagh of this weekend’s opponents.
“We know that they are a really seasoned team, who have done exceptionally well in Antrim over the last number of years. Not only do they have experience, but they have really good footballers with plenty of inter-county experience as well.
“They’re definitely going to provide a massive challenge for us – they beat a very good Glenties team in the last round. We know that they are a good team, and it’s going to be another tough battle, which you expect in any Ulster Championship game.”