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20th Jan 2024

Watty Graham’s Glen could enter record books for three different reasons if they win All-Ireland

Lee Costello

It’s all to play for this Sunday.

Watty Graham’s Glen are preparing to face to St Brigid’s in the All-Ireland Club final this Sunday against Roscommon champions St Brigid’s.

The Derry kingpins are looking to the rectify the wrongs from losing the same final last year at the hands of Dublin’s Kilmacud Crokes, the team that they beat in this year’s semi-finals.

Opportunities like this don’t come around often, so to get a second whack at the grandest prize in club football, just 12 months on from your previous chance, is a rare feat, and something that the Glen lads won’t take lightly.

Although they are going into the game as favourites, absolutely nothing is a forgone conclusion, especially when you consider just how lethal St Brigid’s have been in both Roscommon and Connacht this year.

Their victory over Galway champions Corofin in particular elevated them to a new level in the eyes of GAA fans everywhere, and with a scarily potent attack that boasts the likes of Ben O’Carroll, Brian Derwin and teenager Bobby Nugent, Glen are in for one hell of a battle.

However, if the Ulster champions ere to emerge victorious on Sunday, then they will enter the history books for three separate reasons.

Club immortality.

This is the most obvious one but no doubt the most important as far as the players are concerned, but Glen have never won this title before, so by doing so, they will be the first team in their club’s history to earn that accolade.

Before 2021 the club had never even won a senior county championship in Derry, and now have three on the bounce, along with two Ulster titles to boot, so this is a group of players who aren’t phased by historical pressures, and firmly believe that just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now.

Anyone who followed them from underage level will have known that this team was well on their way, winning four Ulster champions at Minor level, before lifting the trophy a few more times at u21 – now they are looking to complete the whole set.

Ulster reigns supreme.

Conor Glass

Another added significance if Glen were to beat St Brigid’s is the fact that it would mean all three teams to lift the All-Ireland from Junior level, right through to senior, will be from Ulster.

Cavan’s Area won the Junior title last weekend, while Armagh’s Cullyhanna lifted the Intermediate trophy, just a few short hours afterwards, meaning that both the third and second tier All-Ireland titles are already up north.

Glen could complete the trio if they beat the Connacht side, and it will be the first time in history that all three accolades were won by teams from Ulster in the same season.

Derry rule club football.

Ballinderry, Lavey, and Bellaghy are all clubs who helm from county Derry, and have all brought the Andy Merrigan Cup back to the Oakleaf county as champions.

If Malachy O’Rourke’s men manage to pull it off, then they will become the fourth team in Derry to win that honour, and also elevate the county to a prestigious level.

Only two other counties, Dublin and Kerry, have four different clubs names as All-Ireland champions, which means they would have to share this title with the Derry, should Glen be crowned champions.

Although not as geographically big as the two southern counties, and scarred with community divides as a result of The Troubles, for Derry to become the joint most successful club in the country, would be an incredible achievement.

Of course, St Brigid’s who won the title already back in 2013, will want to prevent all three of these achievements from ever happening, but it’s all on the line this Sunday at Croke Park.

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