St Gall's Gallagher looking for double delight
Big Ronan Gallagher enjoyed All Ireland club championship success with St Gall’s earlier in the season.
And now he’s fervently hoping Fermanagh can replicate that success in the Ulster Championship beginning with their quarter-final clash with Cavan in Breffni Park this evening.
A native of Belleek on the Donegal border, he actually made his Championship debut against Donegal and he appreciates the mountain he and his colleagues have to climb.
“We’re under no illusions of the challenge that lies ahead,” he said.
“They have a couple of forwards who will take some watching and in Seanie Johnston and Cian Mackey they have two fabulous players.
“Manager Tommy Carr has had his problems since taking over, but the important thing is that the players backed him and that speaks volumes.”
Fermanagh will be hoping that Ronan and his brother Rory will prove to be lucky charms. In addition to having enjoyed All Ireland club success they also came up trumps with UUJ in the 2001 Sigerson Cup.
Reflecting on St Gall’s All Ireland breakthrough, he said: “It was a massive disappointment losing the final four years ago so narrowly. This time there was a palpable sense of relief that we had got our hands on the trophy.
“This time we got the rub of the green and the bounce of the ball that we didn’t get in 2006. In addition this season we didn’t have any injury worries which made all the difference.” A teacher in St John’s, Middletown, he’s married to Armagh girl Catherine McCabe, their wedding taking place just three weeks after the All Ireland club decider.
Ronan and his brother Rory only played two league games with Fermanagh due to club commitments.
“It’s hard to put your finger exactly on where things went wrong,” he said. “We were very lucky with injuries and things just didn’t click despite everyone’s best efforts. Training was going well and there was a great sense of camaraderie in the squad, but results don’t lie and we were relegated despite beating Roscommon.”
James Sherry’s goal against Roscommon was a league highlight but there was always a sense of inevitability about relegation. Gallagher said that despite relegation the squad remained upbeat.
“Since the league ended the whole focus has been on the Cavan match and we’ve had the best part of 10 weeks to prepare,” he said.
“The hope is that we go to Breffni Park and beat Cavan. If in the event we fail it won’t have been for want of trying.”
Fermanagh lost the corresponding match to Cavan last season and came off second best in the league earlier in the season.