Naomh Conaill manager Martin Regan
We haven’t gone away you know!
That was the quiet but proudly defiant message from Glenties boss Martin Regan, who was remarkably calm in the aftermath of a titanic battle in extra-time that saw his side come from three points down to coming agonisingly close to victory.
“Those boys don’t go away, they just keep coming back and coming back.
“That’s not just these two games, that’s this last three years.
“We were beaten by Kilcar two years ago and people said that team was finished.
“We were beaten last year, and people said that team was finished and Gaoth Dobhair were hot favourites today.
“They’ll be favourites again on Wednesday night, they’re still Ulster champions and they haven’t been beaten in the championship yet this year, so we still have a massive task ahead of us”.
So how did he feel after this most roller coaster of occasions?
“It’s difficult, you’d need to take time to reflect on things and it was a real battle out there, no more than last Sunday, it was edge-of-the-seat stuff that could’ve gone either way in normal time or extra-time.
“We live to fight another day and we’ll get ourselves ready for Wednesday night.
“Gaoth Dobhair don’t want to hand over their county title that easy, we don’t want to give one away that easy, so it’ll be another big battle on Wednesday night.
“No team will give an inch, it’s going to come down to fine margins again.”
And Glenties certainly cut it fine by going down by three points at the start of extra-time after going three points points up from a penalty in the first 10 minutes.
“Just before half-time in extra-time we were three down and got a very important score, Leo (McLoone) won a free, and that made a big difference.
“The boys couldn’t have given any more in the second period of extra-time. It’s disappointing to only draw when you go a point up at that stage, but we’d have taken it at half-time in extra-time.
“And yes, we had a great start with that early penalty
“It’s a long time ago now.
“Penalties could decide it on Wednesday night. It gave us the start we wanted but we just didn’t build on it.”
When asked how he felt about finishing on the day and the fact that the winner will have only four days to prepare for the Ulster Club Championship, Regan said
“If it goes to penalties and you’ve three games level after extra-time, it has to be decided some way.
“The time frame is not ideal, very difficult, but the clubs agreed at the start of the year so I don’t think anyone can have any complaints. If it had been decided last week, you’d have had two weeks to prepare for Ulster. It’s just two tight teams going at it.”
And he once again dismissed the common theory that Glenties were driven by disrespect.
“I don’t think that, and I can see where people are coming from, that team’s on the go a long time.
"I don’t think it’s a crazy statement to throw out when you see the age profile of some of our players.
“If we’d won last year or two years ago, the same hunger would’ve been there.
"It’s not disrespect driving us, it’s the love of football.
“We could be beaten on Wednesday night or we could win, but we’ll still come back next year and still be hungry.”
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