By Michael McMullan
IT was a “different sort” of feeling for Glen after retaining their Derry title insists midfielder Conor Glass.
The Wattys were 1-12 to 0-7 winners over neighbours Sleacht Néill in Sunday’s decider, a game that followed the path of the sides’ showdown last year.
Glass felt getting the early lead was a huge factor in the game. He opened the scoring after three minutes, with Michael Warnock, Conleth McGuckian, Jack and Ethan Doherty all on target before a 20th minute Shane McGuigan free opened the Emmets’ account.
“Last year there was so much emotion; whereas this year we had a job to do and a plan coming into it and it paid off,” said Glass.
“We controlled the game from the start and played it on our terms. Sleacht Néill had to come out of their style of play and that obviously suited us.
“We forced Sleacht Néill into taking his risk shots from far out and from the side-lines, when we bring that sort of pressure, with our pace and intent on the attack, it shows what we can do.”
Glass, a former underage star, returned from a career in the AFL to help Derry to a first Ulster title in 24 years and Glen’s back to back senior success. He puts both success down to the unseen work behind the scenes and points to the talent in the county.
“All the players knew they were underperforming and they knew they could get to the highest level,” he said stepping into a Glen team he grew up with.
“With Derry, bringing Rory (Gallagher) and having that team structure gave us the chance to perform at the highest level and that’s the same here in Glen with Malachy (O’Rourke) and (Ryan) Porter.
“Once we have that behind us and once we have all that is going on behind the scenes in place it lets the players go out and perform on the pitch.”
Sunday’s win cements Glen’s status as the undisputed kings of the Derry club scene and while Glass admits their focus was to peak for county final day, it was far from easy.
“Any county final is not easy and what we did in the first half is not easy, we had to work to get the scores.
“They (Sleacht Néill) got it back to four (0-10 to 0-6 after 48th minutes), they came out with serious intent and we had to weather that storm during their purple patch.
“The goal was a big factor and it dampened their spirits a bit. We controlled the game and a few silly mistakes brought them back into it.”
While he admitted there was unfinished business in Ulster, he was looking no further than the first round of Ulster, to the extent that – speaking minutes after the game – he was even unaware of when the Tyrone final was fixed fo.
In the short term, it’s a few days off for Glass, who opened a new café in Maghera in recent weeks.
“It’s probably not ideal opening a café during the Derry championship because I am out on my feet a bit, but it’s good to have a focus away from football too.”