Galbally joint captain McGarrity hoping for perfect End to season against Magheracloone
WITH a Tyrone league and championship double in the bag and an Ulster Club IFC final tomorrow night, Galbally’s season is bordering on perfection.
Magheracloone will be looking to apply the first blemish to a campaign that has brought joy to every man, woman and child connected with the club.
“It’s been a long year, we have been going since this time last year, but we never thought we would be in this position, it’s great,” said joint-captain Enda McGarrity.
But the mood around Pearse Park was much darker a year ago, when relegation from Division One inflicted pain and devastation.
Renewal and defiance went hand in hand as a talented young team met every challenge to ensure their visit to the second tier would be a brief one, with an immediate return to the top level.
“This time last year we were really devastated going down to Intermediate football,” said McGarrity, who shares the duties of skipper with close friend Sean Murphy.
“It hit us hard, but we thought there’s two ways we can look at this, we could wallow in it or we could bounce straight back up, and thankfully that’s’ what we have done. That was the goal and here we are.”
The bond that runs through the Galbally team was an important factor in preventing spirits from dropping and confidence from wavering as they sought to re-establish the club among Tyrone’s elite.
And that unity was bolstered by the decision of the squad’s more senior members to stick with the process and give it at least one more year.
“I think some of the older boys probably through that that was their last hurrah last year, but thankfully they have stuck it out, and they have been integral to our success this year.
“There is a gulf between the older lads and the younger lads, but you wouldn’t think it. Everyone gets on the best, and we’re all together, the blend is brilliant.
“It’s great to have them on board, and I hope they’re on board for the next couple of years too.”
Galbally have performed with a refreshing freedom during their first ever provincial series, an adventurous, attacking approach producing some big score-lines as they saw off Grange of Armagh, Cavan champions Laragh United and St Naul’s of Donegal.
McGarrity is enjoying the mystery of it all as they take on teams from different counties who bring contrasting styles and unknown qualities to the table.
“It’s uncharted territory for us. It was great to win the double at domestic level in Tyrone.
“But we just started to enjoy the freedom of playing in Ulster, because you don’t know the teams as well. It’s a different kind of dynamic and we have really enjoyed it.
“Now, the games are enjoyable. You’re going out against teams you have never played before, at a stage you have never been at, and it’s just a brilliant position to be in, really.”
Magheracloone are no strangers to big championship occasions, having competed in the Monaghan SFC final just two years ago.
But midfielder McGarrity has no concerns over his side’s capacity to handle the pressure at the Athletic Grounds on Saturday evening.
“Our boys at this stage don’t get too fazed by the big matches. We have played eight championship games this year, so we’re relaxed going into these games.
“Yes, we know we’re capable of winning, but there’s a relaxed atmosphere, and we don’t get too hyped up about it.”