Derry champions Glen want to make the most of the good times says Danny Tallon
WITH 2021 Ulster champions Kilcoo out of the picture, you might be forgiven for supposing that Glen need only to hold their nerve to retain the Seamus McFerran Cup.
Champions for the first time last year, the Derry representatives have been installed as odds-on favourites with the bookies and are a miserly 2/9 to beat Donegal’s Naomh Conaill in Saturday's semi-final at Healy Park (5.30pm).
Complacency is the enemy for Malachy O’Rourke’s star-studded side and they have no interest in favourite-tags or bookies’ odds. Danny Tallon, who scored in every match of last year’s campaign including a poacher’s goal in the All-Ireland final, says only the best will do if the Maghera men are to go a step further this time around.
“I don’t get into any of that,” said experienced forward Tallon.
“We could be favourites but we don’t look at the odds, we look at all the games like they’re 50-50 and we go from there.”
Glen’s success has come incrementally. A first-ever appearance in the Derry decider in 2019 paved the way for their county breakthrough in 2021. Losing to Kilcoo in that year’s Ulster semi-final turned out to be excellent preparation for their first provincial success last year and they’ll hope to use the experience of last year’s controversial loss to Kilmacud Crokes to their benefit in the New Year.
But that’s a long way away. For now, Naomh Conaill is the one and only target.
“You go back two and-a-half years’ ago and the club had never won a senior championship,” says Tallon.
“So we went a long, long time trying to get to this stage. Now we have three and I suppose we’re just trying to make the most of it when things are going well. It drives you on.”
Glen got through their quarter-final against Cargin with a bit to spare in the end but they were pushed all the way by the Antrim champions who lost Tomas McCann before the break but hung doggedly onto Glen’s coattails right to the finish.
“We knew it was going to be tough with Cargin – same as last year – but thankfully we got there in the end,” said Tallon.
“They pushed and pushed and we knew they weren’t going to go away and they did very well with 14 men to keep coming at us, but we were able to keep that wee bit in front and stay there until the finish-up.
“We know not to panic whenever we’re in bad situations. We know that, if something’s going against us, to keep at what we’re doing and it’ll come and thankfully it did.”
And Tallon says he expects more of the same against Martin Regan’s Naomh Conaill. The Glenties side is a vastly-experienced outfit who have been dominant in Donegal and showed their character with a last-gasp goal to sink Cavan’s Gowna at the quarter-final stage.
“You’re not going to get any easy games now,” said Tallon.
“It was good preparation against Cargin, they put it up to us, but it’ll be the same again the next day and we’ll give it our best shot.”