Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Queen's greatest night means a 'tremendous amount' to 50 year chairman Denis Clarke

By Gareth Hanna

Local football clubs' indentities are shaped by the individuals that become synonymous with the crest.

Every club has the loyal stalwarts, working long hours for often little gain, but few could claim to be as dedicated as Queen's University's Denis Clarke.

The chairman has been in his position for over 50 years , and it has been anything but trophy-laden.

In fact, the side's Intermediate Cup success on Tuesday evening was, unbelievably, the first piece of major silverware they have won in their entire 108 year history.

Having been around the club for over half of that period, it's little wonder Clarke was given the loudest roar of the night at Windsor Park as the made his way on to the pitch ahead of the trophy presentation and was then engulfed by the pack of players.

"It's just unbelievable," he said.

"It means a tremendous amount to me. There's such a huge amount of work goes in and this is the first time we've won a big trophy like this. It's fantastic.

"We rarely get to finals. We were in the Intermediate Cup final in 1980 and we were beaten by the RUC on that occasion. So not just to win it, but to play so well, it's unbelievable. It's just fantastic.

This is how it feels to win your first major trophy in 108 years! 👌🏼 Read more about Queen's University's Intermediate...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"It's been a long time but I just love working with Queen's. I was a student at Queen's myself many years ago and I played football for Queen's.

"I want to give full credit to Peter Thompson, the manager. That team is really, really fit. That's the one thing other teams say to us, whether we win or not. That's down to him and the coaches that work with him. They're absolutely brilliant."

The club has won at least 13 Collingwood Cup titles but, the first crown outside the university arena, this trophy marks their biggest ever night.

"I would say so and to play at Windsor Park as well - that was a great decision," said Clarke. "The players were really looking forward to coming to play here and then to play as they did, how could you beat that?"

This man Eamon Fyfe and his team-mate Ronan Young both scored perfect free-kicks as Queen's University ended their...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

They could still come close to matching such a significant occasion when they face Dergview in the promotion / relegation play-off for a place in next season's Bluefin Sport Championship.

Queen's host the first leg on Friday, the return match scheduled for Tuesday evening.

"I don't know how you get up for the play-off now after that," sighed Clarke. "It would be great if we could have a few more days in between but on Friday night we have to go again. Dergview will be tough but who knows?"

Whatever happens, nobody can take this Intermediate Cup title from Queen's University, nor from their inspirational chairman Denis Clarke.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph