Ballinderry are real class act, says Glenswilly's James McDaid
GLENSWILLY captain James McDaid admits that his side will have to play "the game of our lives" if they are to have any chance of overcoming Ballinderry in the Ulster club football final at Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday.
The Donegal champions rarely carried the favourites label into games in their domestic championship and while McDaid acknowledges that they are delighted to be in the Ulster decider, he accepts that Ballinderry are very much in the driving seat.
"Let's be honest, a number of our games in the Donegal Championship went down to the wire. We were well tested by teams who are not on a par with Ballinderry and this reinforces for us the size of the challenge we face on Sunday," points out McDaid.
"We will have to play the game of our lives if we are to have a chance of winning.
"Ballinderry are a big, strong side with a lot of experience and a good track record at championship level.
"They won the All-Ireland club title in 2002 and will, I am sure, be keen to get to that level again."
Yet McDaid retains implicit faith in his own players, suggesting that the more experienced members of his team can set the tone for what he hopes will be a winning display.
"We have quality in our side in the form of Michael Murphy, Neil Gallagher, Ciaran Bonner and Gary McFadden so we have no reason to fear Ballinderry," explains McDaid.
"We certainly respect them but we will be hoping to replicate the system of playing that has served us well to date.
"If we do that, then I think we will be in with a shout," he adds.
Ballinderry have strung three consecutive Derry titles together while Glenswilly have made it two Donegal crowns in three years and this emphasises the consistency that both teams have shown of late.
Yet Ballinderry's experience, physicality and scoring attributes would appear to give them a considerable head start going into a game which has captured the public imagination.
McDaid, however, points to the fact that Glenswilly have been able to triumph when confronted by adversity on occasions and this has helped to cement their morale.
"In some games that appeared to be slipping away from us we kept our shape and our nerve and we will certainly need to do this on Sunday.
"The fact that we have been involved in close games has steeled us and we won't be letting our guard drop.
"We will battle right to the end – that's the great strength of this side," maintains McDaid.