Football

Glen glory puts seal on super Sunday for Mulholland family

Eunan Mulholland (right) and Conleth McGuckian celebrate with the John McLaughlin Cup after Sunday's Derry SFC final win over Magherafelt. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Eunan Mulholland (right) and Conleth McGuckian celebrate with the John McLaughlin Cup after Sunday's Derry SFC final win over Magherafelt. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin Eunan Mulholland (right) and Conleth McGuckian celebrate with the John McLaughlin Cup after Sunday's Derry SFC final win over Magherafelt. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

THERE is nearly always a smile on Eunan Mulholland’s face, but Sunday’s was as glowing as the man of the match trophy clutched in his left hand.

“It doesn’t get much better,” he uttered through the grin of a three-in-a-row county champion.

“Being man of the match, you’re not too bothered about it - getting over the line is the main thing, but it is definitely nice to get it.”

Mulholland got forward to kick three first half points when the Watties’ boat was letting in water, and might have added a goal but for a breathtaking tackle from Conall Heron.

“We were definitely up against it and it felt that out there.

“We probably knew we wouldn’t get anything different…we knew they were going to come out fast.

“We were fit to ride the storm and get back level at half-time, but we knew we were weren’t playing at our best in the first half.”

On the day his mother Bronagh, the club’s vice-chairperson, was running the Dublin marathon, it was a Sunday to remember for the family, as older son Cathal poked home Glen’s goal after half-time to open a 1-6 to 0-5 lead they never looked like losing.

“We got a good squeeze on the kick-out in the second half and penned them in a bit,” said Mulholland.

The fact the half-time interval allowed Glen to plan for not facing Derry ’keeper Odhrán Lynch - who hobbled off five minutes before the break - helped their cause.

“We hit 1-1 to put us four up at the start of the second half and we kicked on from there.

“We had control of the game and we didn’t have to go after it. We could keep the ball, slow it a bit and play it on our own terms.”

Mulholland and Glen will return to Celtic Park on Sunday week to face Cargin as they begin the defence of their Ulster title.

It’s a repeat of last year’s semi-final when Danny Tallon’s goal eventually broke the Antrim champions’ resolve.

It was a season that saw Glen in Croke Park on All-Ireland final day only to come up short against Kilmacud Croke’s.

The game grabbed headlines for the controversy surrounding the winners having 17 men on the field of play during Glen’s last throw of the dice.

“I know there was a bit of controversy at the end of it, but, if we are honest with ourselves, Kilmacud were probably the better team on the day…we had the chances to win it,” said Mulholland.

Cargin are the only focus for now, but he admits that part of getting over their All-Ireland disappointment was the hope of someday getting an opportunity to go one better.

“We are looking at the next game,” he said, “but there is no point in saying we are not thinking about it. Whenever you get there, you want to get back.

“That said, when you are playing in Derry against the likes of Slaughtneil two weeks ago, Magherafelt today and now we are into Ulster against Cargin.

“You saw the battle we had with them last year. You can’t take your eye off the next game. I know a lot of people say that but it really is the way.

“You are taking one game at a time and you hope you can keep winning.”