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Joe Kernan: Northern lights are still shining brightly for Belfast

Much has been made of late of the progress achieved by Dublin in both football and hurling — and rightly so.

The Dubs have certainly hit the high spots this year at different levels in both codes and deserve great praise for their accomplishments.

But the second biggest city on this island has not exactly been dragging its feet in terms of chalking up feats.

Perhaps Belfast may not benefit to quite the same extent from the massive cash hand-outs which Dublin has received from the GAA but the city has several jewels in its sporting crown.

And one of these is undoubtedly the progressive St Gall’s club who have just won their 10th Antrim senior football crown in eleven years.

This is a record of consistency that will stand alongside the very best contained within the annals of GAA history.

St Gall’s have not only dominated the Antrim landscape but they lifted the All-Ireland Club crown for the only time in 2010 — a feat that cemented their reputation as a truly great club.

Now the west Belfast side are on the prowl for another Ulster club title — at least — to go along with their latest Antrim pot.

It is a measure of the commitment and loyalty of their players that seven in all — Sean Burns, Kieran McGourty, Colin Brady, Terry O’Neill, Sean Kelly, Simon Kennedy and Kevin McGourty — have shared in all ten of their Antrim triumphs since 2000.

These players may now be perceived to be in the veteran stage but I for one can see no diminution in their enthusiasm or in their quest for more success.

Indeed, it is quite the opposite if one is to judge from their approach to the forthcoming Ulster club series.

St Gall’s obviously take great pride in maintaining the high standards they have set for themselves and I applaud them for that.

In Lenny Harbinson, the former Antrim player, they have an intelligent, far-sighted manager who knows precisely where he wants to take his team.

West Belfast may not quite possess the aura and colour of Dublin but when it comes to collating success St Gall’s are truly in a league of their own.

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