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St Gall's Colin Brady urges team-mates not to dwell on previous triumph

by declan bogue

Memories of a game played four years ago will hold no relevance, insists St Gall's full-back Colin Brady, as he steels himself for a difficult Sunday in the company of Glenswilly's Michael Murphy.

Right now, Murphy's form ranks with anything seen in the last decade from any Ulster footballer, his supreme performances as the successful captain of the Ireland International Rules team sandwiching a man-of-the-match display in the Donegal county final against Killybegs.

Four years ago however, Brady and his Antrim team mates made the journey to Ballybofey to take on Donegal in the Ulster Championship. Brady held Murphy to one point from play as they shocked with their one-point win.

However, Brady deals in realism when it comes to tomorrow's first round encounter (throw-in 2.30pm, Ballybofey).

"What happened back then is a long time ago and you can't take much from it," the 2010 All-Ireland winning captain said.

"The experience of playing on the pitch is good, knowing the atmosphere and the journey up. But once the whistle goes you are on the pitch and it is 15 against 15.

"You can see the player that Murphy has become. Captain of Ireland now for a couple of matches. What he has achieved for Donegal has been outstanding, and he is relatively young."

In terms of experience at this stage however, the Belfast boys have it in spades here. Glenswilly did feature in the 2011 series and muscled their way past Cavan Gaels in the preliminary round but found the going too tough in the next round when facing Latton.

St Gall's meanwhile took advantage Crossmaglen's domestic defeat in 2009 to land the Ulster title, and a few months later, All-Ireland glory.

Under the guidance of Carl McCabe and 'Tiffy' Quinn now, St Gall's have been in a period of transition.

Brady name-checks Niall O'Neill, Brendan Bradley, Conor Burke, Jackson McGreevey, Rory Wilson and Aidan Gribben as young lads coming through, but they also have the long-established talents of Sean Kelly, Chris Kerr, CJ and Kieran McGourty, Aodhan Gallagher, as well as a stellar defence that includes Anto Healy.

He added: "There is a keenness to get on and progress. The trainings are geared around who we are going to play.

"It's just short and sharp stuff, no hanging about or messing. The preparation they do before training and games is fantastic."

This year, Antrim were the first county to get their domestic scene wrapped up and Brady struggles to decide whether that is a positive.

To guard against any ring-rustiness, the team have played a few friendlies against clubs from outside Antrim.

"We played outside the county, played a couple of university teams, played a few games against teams at the level we want to pushing against," he said.

"Antrim games are good, but you need to get that wee bit of distance, to know what it is like to travel to a game and how that game will go away from home, how teams play, how referees see the game."

With the day set to be bright and clear, St Gall's will be in their element. But then again, they have been down many roads before.

Belfast Telegraph


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