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Madden is on the march to a double

By John Campbell

Former Antrim ace Kevin Madden is suddenly finding himself within touching distance of a dual helping of success.

Madden has steered Glenullin into the Derry senior football championship final, in which they will meet Bellaghy on Sunday week, while his own club Portglenone will contest next Sunday's Antrim decider against St Galls at Casement Park (2.00).

Madden helped to train the Portglenone side that reached the Antrim final two years ago only to be beaten by St Galls who went on to contest the AIB All Ireland Club final, but lost to Salthill/Knockacarra.

"I actually suffered a cruciate ligament injury at the start of that 2005 campaign and could not play, but I was glad to be able to help out in a small way as a member of the backroom team," explains Kevin.

Now he's hoping that Porglenone can come good against a strong St Galls side who will be warm favourites to go into the Ulster Club Championship.

"It's a big ask for Portglenone, but they have a lot of decent players and they won't be far away," insists Madden.

Meanwhile, Glenullin's arrival in the Derry football decider has also thrust Madden into the limelight.

As an innovative coach, his strategy and man-management skills have had much to do with Glenullin's unexpected championship renaissance,

Madden himself outlines the enormity of the task confronting his side.

"Look, Bellaghy have been in something like twenty-eight Derry finals in the past fifty years and Glenullin have been in one and that was back in the early 80's," he stresses.

"In terms of tradition, success and pedigree Bellaghy leave us at the starting gate, but come Sunday week it will be fifteen against fifteen and we will definitely be up for it."

Madden's enterprising coaching policy coupled with the Glenullin dynamic that is inspired by chairman Martin Mullan has helped to turn the Derry championship upside down.

"We had not been expected to beat Ballinderry in the semi-final last weekend but we came up trumps," said Madden.

"That reflects great credit on the players, but I would have to say, too, that from chairman Martin Mullan down the whole administrative set-up is very supportive.

"They have helped to provide the resources and the facilities we need to bring Glenullin up in the world. I would love to help deliver a title for this great club - I think they deserve it."

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