Cathal Murray is paying particular attention to St Gall’s progress in the Ulster club senior football championship — and with good reason.
Murray, now No. 2 to new Antrim boss Frank Dawson, believes that the Milltown outfit can still provide a shoal of players for the county side in 2013.
And on the basis that nothing succeeds like success, Murray is hoping that St Gall’s can prove the torchbearers for the Saffrons.
Two years ago St Gall’s captured the All-Ireland club title for the first time and that triumph convinced the then manager Lenny Harbinson that the side could remain a strong force on both the provincial and national fronts.
Carl McCabe currently oversees operations at the club and Murray believes the team can provide the Antrim management with considerable encouragement as preparations for the 2013 campaign are stepped up.
“I think St Gall’s have shown that they are a very well-organised side with just the right mix of youth and experience,” said Murray.
“Many of their players have been round the block a few times and they obviously take a great pride in their club judging by their commitment and hunger for more success. Their attitude impresses me.”
St Gall’s, inspired by Kevin Niblock, will now meet Down champions Kilcoo in the Ulster club semi-final on Sunday week and while Murray admires the sustained headway which the team from his own county have made under the baton of Jim McCorry, his commitment is now very much to Antrim’s welfare.
Prior to linking up with Dawson a matter of weeks ago, Murray had been manager of the Saul club near Downpatrick and retains fond memories of this time there.
“I could not have been happier than I was with Saul,” he said.
“They are a great club — dedicated players, very capable administrators and wonderful supporters. You could not ask for better.
“I like to think that I left them in a better place than they were in when I arrived. I made my exit with great regret, but it was time to move on. Having said that, I will always follow their progress from now on.”
Murray guided St Colman’s College Newry to MacRory Cup and Hogan Cup glory in 2010 and 2011, a double-double that is unlikely to be repeated at colleges’ level in the foreseeable future.
“I was fortunate in that I had a very talented bunch of players to work with. They gave me everything and obviously I would hope to see a number of those boys go on and make it big with Down, They deserve to do so,” said Murray.
He himself proved a tenacious wing-back for Down in the past and is keen to see his native county gain a major success in 2013.
“But not at the expense of Antrim,” he smiles.