Difficult doing it against Errigal admits Malachy O'Rourke as Glen advance to Ulster semi-final

Glen manager Malachy O'Rourke admitted he had mixed emotions about knocking his former club Errigal Ciaran out of the Ulster Senior Club Championship as the Watty Graham's advanced to a semi-final date with Cargin.

Glen’s Jack Doherty is challenged by Errigal Ciarn’s Ruairi Cavanagh during the Ulster Senior Club Championship quarter- final at Celtic Park on Sunday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2246GS - 022
Glen’s Jack Doherty is challenged by Errigal Ciarn’s Ruairi Cavanagh during the Ulster Senior Club Championship quarter- final at Celtic Park on Sunday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2246GS - 022

O'Rourke, who won a 1997 Tyrone Senior championship medal with Errigal, had also managed current Errigal manager Mark Harte during a spell in charge of the club he joined from his home club, Derrylin O’Connell’s in Fermanagh, after moving to Ballygawley in the 1990s. And after a week that saw much discussion about Jerome Johnston's decision to step aside for Ballybay's meeting with Kilcoo, O'Rouke explained it had not been easy plotting the downfall of a club very close to his own heart.

"As much as anything, the experience the boys have had in the Derry championship over the past two years, Ulster last year - there's no doubt about it - winning those tough games brings a team on great," explained O'Rourke after Sunday's dramatic 3-10 to 1-12 victory in Celtic Park, "It gives you that belief going forward but you can have all the belief you want, you still have to go out and perform on the day.

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"That's the task for the next day now. It was always going to be a difficult game with Errigal, especially for myself. Errigal is a great club. They have been great to me and it was a difficult situation for me to be in but it was a case that the boys in Glen, and the club, have worked really hard and put an awful lot of work and commitment into it. I felt the only way to do that justice was to try my best on the day. At the same time, it was hard doing it against Errigal."

Errigal Cairan’s Cormac Quinn is challenged by and Glen pair Conor Convery and Conor Glass during the Ulster Senior Club Championship quarter- final in Celtic Part on Sunday afternoon last. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2246GS – 19
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"I felt first half we were carrying the ball into tackle all the time," added the Glen manager "We were going down the middle and Errigal were able to turn us over and then they were very dangerous on the counter attack and with the two lads (Ruairi and Darragh Canavan) in particular inside, they are very dangerous.

"We were architects of our own downfall a lot so we wanted to make sure we didn't do that again in the second half, that we were better attacking, that we didn't give them as many chances to counter attack. I thought we were better at that and just generally I felt we needed more urgency second half. We needed to get to the pitch of the game and our support runs, the man on the ball was being isolated at times in the first half so we wanted to improve that. Overall I think the boys just lifted it a bit and it was enough to get us through."

The victory sets up a semi-final date against Antrim champions Cargin and O'Rourke is expecting another tough test.

"I could even sense from them in the lead up to their game Cargin have a great hunger. They have been in the Ulster Club championship for a few years and haven't made the most of their talent I suppose. They are a very experienced team. They will be itching at the chance to get to an Ulster Club final.

"It is going to be another tough game, especially in winter football which levels things out a bit as well. It is a battle for break ball and things like that. Look, we have two weeks to prepare for it and hopefully we haven't too many injuries so we'll see how we get on."