By Alan Rodgers
BIG wins in their run to the Ulster final are ensuring that Galbally will be in confident mood as their journey towards provincial honours reaches its climax with this weekend’s decider against Corduff.
It has been a championship journey brimming with excitement for the Pearses as they aim to erase the disappointment of losing at this same stage three years ago. They will, though, have to be on top form against a Corduff side whose form in Monaghan and on their way to this clash has also been impeccable.
Victories over Glenullin and Dungloe during the past six weeks have highlighted Galbally’s abilities. Now they’ll be aiming to complete the job, progress to the All-Ireland stage and confirm their momentum as they prepare for the return to senior football in Tyrone in 2023.
In 2019, Paul Rafferty was still playing for the club as they reached the Ulster final. Now in 2022 he has retired and is content to watch their fortunes from the stands and terraces. He believes they have the ability to clinch the title for the first time.
“This is probably going to be a very close game. ‘Banty’ (Seamus McEnaney, Corduff manager) is talking about Galbally being favourites for Ulster and the All-Ireland, but Corduff are a very tough team, physical and I think we have been playing well,” he said.
“Winning the county title has given us great confidence. Lads like Conor Donaghy are playing well, Dan Kerr is getting fitter with every game, and young Barry Carbery is starting to stamp himself in the forwards. When you have Conor Quinn, Christopher Morris and Enda McGarrity as well, we are well balanced.
“At the same time nobody is under any illusions about how tough this match is going to be.
“Being in the final three years ago is good from an experience viewpoint. We went into the final in 2019 pretty much playing teams with the same sort of calibre that we’ve played this time around. Magheracloone were very strong that day, but this Galbally team is older and wiser.
“Christopher Morris has come back after not being involved back then, Sean Wylie would have been watching from the stands that day. You’d hope that experience will stand to us.”
The Pearses captured the Tyrone title courtesy of a memorable victory over Edendork. Now the prospect of another title is driving them on, although they know that Corduff are well disciplined and drilled also for the task ahead.
“The buzz around the club and in the schools is great. The children are just loving it and if we are serious about retaining our status in Division One next year then these are the kind of games that will give us great confidence,” added Rafferty.
“Senior football in Tyrone is a big step up from intermediate. I suppose we’re under no illusions about what awaits next year. But it’s great to be playing football this time of year and in the Ulster Club. A win at the weekend would surely set things up nicely for 2023 and retaining our senior status which is the ultimate aim.”