By Michael McMullan
CONNOR Carville’s take this weekend’s showdown with Kilcoo is simple. Glen must roll out their best performance possible if they’ve any chance of ferrying the Seamus McFerran Cup along Maghera street on Sunday night.
The Glen skipper’s troublesome knee injury forced him off in the dying embers of last season’s gut-wrenching defeat to the eventual Ulster and All-Ireland champions.
After a winter of rehab, he played in the reserve game on the day Glen opened their 2022 championship campaign with victory over Claudy on a scorching afternoon.
He has always been captain material. Of St Patrick’s Maghera’s five Hogan Cup wins, Carville became the third Glen man to lift the cup as part of the 2013 team that 10 of his teammates on the panel.
After a career picking up medals, Sunday is “special” but not one to dwell on. The occasion is for reflecting on in the aftermath.
“We are just focussed with putting in a good performance and do ourselves justice in the final,” Carville outlined
After retaining their Derry title, Glen needed a powerful second half display to see off Errigal Ciaran in a game he described as “gung-ho” in spells. Their win over Cargin being “more defensive”, but the Carville is content his side were able to win both ways.
“At the same time, we wouldn’t have been delighted with our performance against Cargin. We have plenty to work on for the final, the performance wouldn’t do the next day,” he warned.
Having just dug into last year’s Kilcoo game last week, he didn’t agree with the consensus that it was a bad game.
“It might have been low scoring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad game,” he said.
“It was a tactical arm wrestle at times. I’d say both teams will be watching it back trying to learn things for Sunday.”
The winter’s focus was about navigating their way through Derry before any remote consideration of the Ulster scene was allowed to enter the headspace.
“Now we are taking each game as it came and thankfully we are back (out of Derry) and in an Ulster final and it means we have another chance at playing Kilcoo and righting the wrongs of last year,” said Carville.
He has been impressed how the champions were in “complete control” of a Ballybay team that saw off Crossmaglen.
“Against Enniskillen, as well, they had a great performance. If you look at our games, you might be saying we were lucky enough the last day against Cargin.
“We are under no illusions…we have to improve seriously to give Kilcoo any sort of a game next Sunday. Let’s face it, they are the reigning All-Ireland champions and are going for a three in a row in Ulster. If we are not at our absolute best, (we can) forget about it.”