Rory's commitment highlights St Gall's strength
It has been a memorable year so far for Rory Gallagher - and more success could be on the horizon.
The former Fermanagh ace played a key role as No 2 to manager Jim McGuinness when Donegal won the Division Two National Football League title and then claimed their first Ulster title in 19 years.
Now Gallagher is poised to help St Gall's to what would be a tenth Antrim senior football championship title in 11 years when they meet Lamh Dhearg in tonight's decider at Casement Park (7.00).
The Milltown side are favourites not only to retain their crown but to emerge as a major force in the Ulster club championship.
Manager Lenny Harbison, though, is looking no further than tonight's game.
"Every team can lift themselves for a final and we expect a tough contest from Lamh Dhearg," says former Antrim player Harbison who has kept St Gall's among the country's elite club sides since taking over.
Gallagher, who was central to St Gall's All-Ireland club title triumph in 2009, is one of several experienced players in a side that has retained a sharp appetite for success despite its formidable record of achievement.
His commitment to the side was underlined when, even though Donegal were heavily immersed in major games during the summer, he still found time to play a role with the Belfast side.
It is a measure of the resources which Harbison has at his disposal that when St Gall's easily overcame St Brigid's in their recent Antrim semi-final Anto Healy, C J McGourty and Darren O'Hare, all seasoned county players, found themselves starting from the bench.
Tonight Sean Kelly, Sean Burke, Andrew McLean, Aodhan Gallagher, Colin Brady, Kieran McGourty and former Fermanagh goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher will provide the craft, guile and drive that should underpin St Gall's efforts.
Lamh Dhearg will rely heavily on the sniping of Paddy Cunningham up front while Ciaran Murray, Michael Herron and Brendan Herron are other key players in their side.
They do not possess the overall strength and technique of St Gall's though and it will be a surprise if the reigning champions do not sprint to yet another county crown in some style.