Dan Gordon proud to lead Loughinisland to Ulster title
AS LOCAL legends go around Loughinisland, they don’t come any bigger than one Dan Gordon.
The towering midfielder powered his side to last Sunday’s decider in Owenbeg. And while he may not have reached those heights in Owenbeg, Gordon was a very proud man as he stood tall and straight in the rain.
One TV journalist asked him, not quite tongue in cheek, if he would be available if new Down boss Éamon Burns came calling. But a modest Gordon replied he would not be getting a call on the evidence of last Sunday.
However, Gordon still managed to make some vital catches at crucial times when his team was under severe pressure from a lively Bundoran side. And he put in a very good last five minutes when Loughinisland really pulled away from their much more wasteful opponents.
Gordon agreed Bundoran gave the 'Island quite a battle in the middle of the field, but it was the clinically converted goals that saw his side home.
“Bundoran defended very well and we would be just happy to win by a point,” said Gordon.
And there was an extra-special reason for team captain Gordon to be proud as his two uncles captained Loughinisland to victory in two Down championships in the past.
“Yes, but it is very satisfying after the way we lost ourselves in two Down county finals in 2008 and 2009,'' he added.
“Loughinisland is a senior club, but we have not been playing senior football for the past few years, but hopefully this victory will help us to kick on from here. The last time Loughinisland won the championship was in 1989 and I was six, so it is a long time to be without a trophy.”
When asked which of the goals was the turning point, he said he thought it would be the wind in the second-half: “But it just did not work out that way after we played against it in the first-half,'' he said.
“Bundoran dug deep and played some good football and we got it tight. I suppose the real turning points were, every time they got a point, we seemed to get a lucky goal. But we will take that.”
Goals are a big part of Jerome Johnston’s strategy according to Gordon: “When Jerome came in at the start of the year, he identified that we had some good finishers and he got us to play a lot of ball through the hand,'' he added.
“But today we got the goals through lobbing a few high balls into their square, but goals have been a feature of our league and championship. It is a very proud day for me, but we are still rebuilding and we only have around six players remaining from those two county final defeats.
“This is really great for the club and the parish. It lifts everyone’s spirits as we have a very proud tradition of football in Loughinisland.”
Gary Mason and Brendan Mason were just two of those great icons of the recent past, But there may be another chapter in the career of their greatest modern icon - Dan Gordon - who, on his day, is a match for any midfielder in the province.