Gibson eyes All-Ireland glory
Ethan Gibson is facing up to rather more air travel than he anticipated over the course of the winter, but you won't hear a murmur of complaint from him.
The St Enda's club forward is studying physiotherapy in Manchester, and over the course of recent weeks he has been travelling back and forward from Belfast as he helped his team clinch the Ulster Intermediate Club Championship title.
Now with an All-Ireland club semi-final against Galway and Connacht champions Spiddal looming in the new year, 19-year-old Gibson expects to spend even more time in the air.
He said: "I never thought when I commenced my studies in Manchester that I would be commuting every week to play football but I have not the slightest complaint. For St Enda's to be going into an All-Ireland club semi-final is something extra special, and who wouldn't want to be part of this? It's like a dream come true."
"When we won the Antrim title, our manager, Frank Fitzsimons, told us not to let things stop there.
"And now that we have won the Ulster crown he's already driving it home to us that we have the potential to become All-Ireland champions.
"I can tell you that we are certainly buying into that."
Gibson is part of a St Enda's attack that has been hitting the high spots recently, with Ruairi Scott, Odhran Eastwood and Eon Nagle leading the way in totting up scores. Gibson and the more experienced Peter Healy form the right flank of an attack that is imbued with pace and penetration, qualities that manager Fitzsimons expects to see utilised against Spiddal.
"When you look at young guys like Ethan Gibson, you think of what they can maybe achieve going forward, and this excites me," manager Fitzsimons pointed out. "I could not ask for a better bunch of lads to be working with and, while we are looking no further than our game with Spiddal, I feel the sky is the limit for these boys because of their commitment and their pride in the jersey."
Fitzsimons and his team certainly won't lack support when their All-Ireland semi-final comes round.
A number of prominent Antrim officials have been encouraging fans from throughout the county to get behind the side and the players have been provided with an extra incentive to scale a new peak now that county football team boss Lenny Harbinson and his backroom staff have Fitzsimons's squad firmly on their radar.
"We have four St Enda's players in the Antrim panel at the minute, but obviously the door is always open," Harbinson said.
"The club has done superbly well to date and they can now go on and do their county and province proud."