Shorter club season is the way forward: Lamh Dhearg's Brendan Herron
LAMH Dhearg veteran and former county ace Brendan Herron would support a more condensed club season and says the current format is too long.
Living in Derry for the last number of years, Herron returned to his native club this year for one last hurrah in the white and red jersey, and helped seal their county semi-final berth with a wonderful late goal that saw off gutsy Aghgallon at Corrigan Park last Sunday.
The Hannahstown Road men will face defending champions Cargin at St Enda’s Glengormley tomorrow afternoon (4pm) – a repeat of last year’s county final.
With the games coming thick and fast, Herron is a big fan of the tighter timeframe.
“It’s hard going when you’re a bit older and picking up injuries,” said Herron who represented Antrim in hurling and football during the ‘Noughties’.
“But I think the shorter season suits the older player so the shorter season and with Covid this year, it has been a shorter season.
“I think the club season is too long anyway because you can have Ulster League in January and a club final in October. It’s far too long of a year.”
Herron probably thought his club career with the west Belfast club was over after moving to Derry seven years ago where he lined out for Ballinascreen for several seasons.
“I didn’t play any football last year. I got married and moved up there in 2013, we’d young kids and I was working up there too, so it was never going to work me playing for my club.
“I just wanted to come back and play one last year before hanging up my boots.”
Herron was a spectator when Lamh Dhearg clinched the county title in 2017, their first since 1992, but found the experience tough going.
“I played in a lot of finals for the club and never won any. And then I came down to watch the final in 2017 when they beat St John’s.
“They won it and it was brilliant but standing on the sideline was hard. Then last year I didn’t come to watch any games. It got to the stage I didn’t want to watch the team you could be playing on. So, this year I wanted to come back for one more year and thankfully the injuries have stayed away.”
Cargin sent out an ominous message by hammering Rossa by 22 points in Tuesday night’s quarter-final and although improvement is required from Lamh Dhearg’s last eight performance, Herron is philosophical about his side’s patchy performances.
“Once you get to this stage – quarter-final, semi-final – you just have to win the game,” he said.
“You’re not looking to play brilliant football; all you’re looking for is to win the game. Cargin will be a big step up, so hopefully we have another couple of matches left in us.
“We knew Aghgallon were going to be good. They pushed Cargin twice in the group stages. So if we want to reach a final we’re going to have to up it a bit, but it was a good, tight game to have."
He added: “Whenever we got the black card [Ben Rice 32nd minute] we knew it was going to be tough at that stage and they were getting a bit of momentum. If we hadn’t have got the goal we mightn’t have come through it. Once we got the goal we were able to finish it out."