GLENTIES overcame all the odds last weekend to land their sixth title overcoming a hotly fancied St Eunan’s side in a pulsating encounter.
St Eunan’s were the team on everyone’s lips this year with no-one giving any other team a chance.
Going into the game a lot of people, myself included, thought that St Eunan’s would have too much youthful exuberance for the this Glenties team, but on the day it was the exact opposite.
Great credit must go to Glenties because they sat down, analysed both teams, and came up with a game plan that gave them the best chance of success.
In theory, Glenties could never afford to go toe to toe with this St Eunan’s team, so the only option left for them was to pull everyone back behind the 45 and turn it into a war of attrition, counter-attacking as much as possible on the break.
Another massive factor in deciding this game – and indeed it’s a massive factor why other teams in the county cannot get to this level – is that Glenties are willing to launch the ball into the danger area the odd time, whereas most teams in this county are hell-bent on holding onto possession at all costs.
Glenties’ goal – the score that turned the game – came from a nothing ball into the edge of the square with their target man Charles McGuinness (pictured) catching it and firing it into the net.
When you compare that approach to the approach St Eunan’s insisted on sticking to for the whole game, it’s obvious why Glenties created more scoring opportunities.
I have to say that I was disappointed with St Eunan’s on the day. Granted, any team can have an off day, but It was their approach and lack of ambition that seriously got under my skin.
I will let them away with the lack of drive and ambition in the final third for the majority of the game given the fact they were well set up. But there is absolutely no excuse why you would hold onto the ball and pass the ball back to your ‘keeper at least four times within the last two minutes of the game knowing that you need a point to equalise.
What should have happened within those two minutes is one of two things. Either, one of their players should’ve launched the ball in on top of the Glenties ‘keeper and rolled the dice and hoped that you get a break. Or else one of their players should’ve taken the ball at maximum speed and drove at the heart of Glenties defence to buy a free.
None of these options were taken and what we saw was the St Eunan’s players pass the ball over and back over and back for two and a half minutes until finally they coughed up possession and the game was over.
We cannot leave last weekend’s game without talking about the major talking point and what was the sounding off of Shane O’Donnell.
Let me begin by saying that as soon as I saw the incident on Saturday I was adamant that no way that should have been a red card and St Eunan’s were right to question that decision because for me it was totally the wrong decision.
Do I think the decision had a massive bearing on the game? To be perfectly honest the way St Eunan’s were playing and the approach they took to the game, I’m not so sure it did unless Shane would’ve broken away from the script and either launched the odd ball into the square or else ran at the Glenties defence.
For me, Glenties were convincing winners and deserved the title because against all the odds once again they came up trumps. Now that most county finals are done and dusted, we will get to look forward to the Ulster Club series which kicks off in a few weeks’ time and the way things are shaping up there could be some intriguing battles ahead.