Cargin boss Devlin feels his players proved pundits wrong despite loss to Glen
Ulster Club SFC semi-final: Glen (Derry) 1-10 Cargin (Antrim) 0-8
CARGIN boss Ronan Devlin felt his side proved a few points despite eventually losing by five to hot favourites Glen in this Ulster Club SFC semi-final.
There's no great distance geographically between these clubs from Maghera and Toome, and there wasn't much on the pitch separating them either, not until Danny Tallon drilled in a penalty in the fourth minute of added time at the end.
Devlin was proud of his players' performance, but frustrated that they didn't become the first Antrim club to reach the senior club football final for 13 years:
"I reckon there is a kick in that Cargin team. The disappointment in there, they are not interested in taking moral victories. They were meant to be lambs to the slaughter, and we weren't."
Far from it. In fact Glen never managed to pull clear of Cargin until the very end, with the spot-kick being the last action of a close, hard-fought contest.
Ballinderry man Devlin admitted that the pre-match predictions of an absolutely certain Glen victory had stung him and his Cargin charges:
"I just found that it hurt this time. Those fellas were annoyed that they were disrespected. What gets me is that people disrespect them without having watched them.
"A lot of pundits would be saying, 'We got it right. We told you.' There was a headline saying something like the result is obvious, but maybe the margin might not. As in, we were beaten before we arrived…
"I know rightly people wouldn't have turned on their TV today because they felt it would be a kicking in match, but they probably turned it on at half time. And at half-time, we thought we were going to win it. We fully expected to win it, we just didn't get our hands on the ball enough."
Glen boss Malachy O'Rourke acknowledged a degree of concern at that stage, when his team only led by five points to four despite having played with a significant breeze mostly in their favour:
"You're always concerned when there's a strong wind like that and it doesn't take much to get a score - we saw that with the mark they got and big [Pat] Shivers in there is a danger. With frees and that wind it can easily cut down that gap and there was only a point in it at half-time.
"But I knew we hadn't played our best the first half, and I knew against the wind we could play every bit as well and we could control the ball a bit better. It wasn't a great position to be in at half-time but delighted to get through it."
Glen, as so often, kept their composure, and O'Rourke was also pleased with the guts they showed: "If you want to win championship matches that's a big part of it, showing that character.
"Some days you can play great football, there's other days you just have to dig in when you're not at your best and make sure that you're still right in the fight and have a chance to get over the line at the end, and that's what we did."
O'Rourke suggested that the hype surrounding Glen may have adversely affected his team, but they came through the pressure:
"From my experience before semi-finals there's no point looking at a final before you get over the semi-final.
"It was set up [for a shock], you looked at the odds before the game, it was so lopsided in our favour and there was a lot of talk about a Glen-Kilcoo final and it's always difficult to shield players away from that."