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Glenswilly focused on defying formbook

By Declan Bogue

The story of Glenswilly is a story that could be used as a parable of achievement. For those who waste time looking for excuses to explain away their lack of success, they need look no further than the men from the edge of Letterkenny.

They have some players playing for them who are older than the club itself, which was only formed in 1982.

Now, they are only a game away from playing in an Ulster club final, eight years after graduating into the ranks of senior clubs. To get there, they had to beat St Gall's, All-Ireland champions in 2010.

Totemic midfielder Neil Gallagher graciously admits that they are the best side they have ever played,.

"The experience they had when they started getting on the ball, with Terry O'Neill, Aodhan Gallagher and Kevin Niblock for instance. Niblock is one of the best forwards about. To try and contain all of them was a big ask. They were the best we have come across."

In order to get the better of them, Glenswilly had to drag the Belfast side into a dog-fight. In terms of possession and skills St Gall's had the edge, but Gallagher admits the softness of the Ballybofey field gave them a helping hand.

"With the pitch being so heavy it was never going to be a high-scoring game," continued Gallagher.

"There was never going to be a pile in it and the goal was a wild difference. It was the same two years ago when we got a goal near the end against Cavan Gaels. That's a huge difference in a low-scoring game."

In less than a fortnight they will face Roslea Shamrocks of Fermanagh. Already some bookmakers have Peter McGinnity's men priced at 4/1 to make it to a decider, rather generous odds indeed, and one that Glenswilly are not taking any notice of.

The game itself promises to be a throwback to a more vintage style of football. Both teams like to isolate their full-forward line and play ball in high, Glenswilly to the man-mountain Michael Murphy, Roslea to the talented Quigley brothers Sean and Seamus.

Even at that, the Donegal champions are well-versed on what has become the house style of football within their county, in keeping a tidy square and not conceding goals.

Full-back Eamon Ward described their defensive effort on Sunday, stating, "We kept the scores down. Everyone put in the hits and the tackles – that's what you need to do at this stage. Everyone has to be doing the same amount of work. The 15 all over the pitch did their job. From the corner forwards back it was good."

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