By Michael McMullan
GLENULLIN’S target has always been to retain their intermediate title insists Paddy Bradley, who feels his side didn’t get the credit for taking the silver last year.
The title was last defended by Faughanvale in 1998. With Covid, Derry’s recent championship restructure and promotion freeze, the door was open for Glenullin to meet the challenge head on.
The champions used the league to blood players and when July came, it was full steam ahead and they face Banagher on Sunday (Celtic Park, 1.30pm), hoping to get their hands on the Bateson, Sheridan and Lee Cup.
It took extra time for Glenullin to see off Drumsurn in a pulsating semi-final.
Bradley pointed to his side’s squad impact and how they had the legs despite being reduced to 13 men following the dismissals of Cathal Hasson and Traglach Bradley.
“We were still able to win our own kick-out and close down theirs, even though we were two men short,” Bradley said a game he felt his side dominated and failed to capitalise on their control until extra time.
Diarmuid and Ryan McNicholl have returned after injury. Paul Rafferty, Cormac Hasson, Felix Kilmartin, Eamonn Hasson and Eoin McIlvar all got game time in the league.
“I know we now have a strong panel,” Bradley said. “Donal Tam (O’Kane) came on and made a big difference and Rónán Close.
“I know I have developed my panel this year and I knew it was going to stand to me and it did.”
Glenullin left it late in last year’s final with Daniel O’Kane making himself the hero, kicking the winning point with virtually the last addition of a pulsating final.
Bradley’s main focus was with Donegal for the inter-county season and when he threw everything back in with the club in July, there was only one item on the agenda – back-to-back titles.
“That’s all it has been about,” he said. “I thought we didn’t get the credit we deserved last year. I think a lot of people still thought we were lucky and they we came out of nowhere.”
Bradley, who kicked the winner in the club’s 2007 senior final replay win over Bellaghy, took a look at the intermediate landscape again this year. He told his squad they were as good as anything out there.
“We weren’t worried about the league,” he stated.
“When we started out championship preparations back in July, it has always been about being back-to-back champions.
“That’s all we have talked about and we knew it was going to be tight going because it hasn’t been done since Faughanvale and that’s over 20 years ago.
“Banagher are obviously favourites. They are coming down from senior and are a very experienced side and are a quality side. We are there, we have a chance of doing it and we are looking forward to it.”