Glack end 38 year Championship wait!

Glack captain Niall McGowan raises the Joe Brolly Memorial Cup in Celtic Park on Saturday,
Glack captain Niall McGowan raises the Joe Brolly Memorial Cup in Celtic Park on Saturday,

Premier Electric Derry Junior Football Championship Final

O'Connor's Glack 1-14, St. Colm's Drum 1-06

O'Connor's, Glack are the 2019 Premier Electric Derry Junior football champions after defeating Drum in Celtic Park on Saturday

O'Connor's, Glack are the 2019 Premier Electric Derry Junior football champions after defeating Drum in Celtic Park on Saturday

The drought is over. The Joe Brolly Memorial Cup is back in Glack after an absence of 38 years!

The O'Connors bridged the gap of almost 40 years to their last Championship victory in 1981 with a comprehensive and fully deserved victory over a wasteful Drum side who shot too many wides to ever trouble the favourites.

With Cormac Boyle superb in a deep lying attacking role, Niall McGowan's brilliant goal 15 seconds into the second half provided a cushion Glack never looked like losing despite Rory O'Reilly replying with a major for Drum.

The O'Connor's simply had too much attacking power, Drum's 10 wides never allowing them to get close enough to cause Glack any nerves in a match in which St. Colm's were always behind.

Drum deserve credit for battling but the St. Colm's never looked like they had the legs to trouble a Glack team that managed the closing stages impressively before referee Sean McGuigan prompted an outpouring of emotion from players, families and supporters, some of whom had waited a lifetime to get their hands on a county medal.

The scenes on the Celtic Park pitch after the whistle suggest they may enjoy this one for a few days yet!

Both sides named the 15s that started their respective semi-finals but numbers on the back of shirts meant little with the traditional pre-match psychological battle decreeing some names paired with odd numbers.

The opening half was a tepid affair, Drum trying to sit deep and contain a Glack team that were in control without ever being able to transfer that to the scoreboard. The O'Connor's constant 'second man run' tactic threatened to open up St. Colm's on a number of occasions but a combination of poor decision making or safety first attitude meant it was only a four point half-time lead at 0-7 to 0-3.

Glack were operating with Aaron Moore and Eoin Mackey inside and Cormac Boyle and Liam O'Brien withdrawn but that quartet had been given license to rotate and their clever off the ball running was creating spaces for the likes of Marty McGonigle and Jimmy O'Connor to break through. Indeed Drum were fortunate a number of promising positions didn't yield goals.

When St. Colm's did win turnover ball or have possession, they struggled to get enough runners in and around Cathair McCloskey and Rory O'Reilly.

Aaron Moore opened the scoring and then doubled his tally with a soccer style finish after mishandling the initial pass into him. When Ryan Morgan's lovely run and point, after exchanging passes with Niall McGowan, put Glack 0-3 to no score up on 11 minutes, the signs were ominous.

To their credit, Drum rallied. Niall Burke set up Ruairi O'Reilly for their first score on 12 minutes before a Donal Brolly free brought Glack's lead back to the minimum at 0-3 to 0-2 minutes later.

Those points seemed to knock the wind out of Glack momentarily as Ryan Morgan and Niall Ferris traded scores for 0-4 to 0-3 but that Ferris point would be Drum's last of the half as Glack reasserted their superiority.

O'Connor scored a lovely point after running in off the right wing while Boyle almost had a goal when he rose highest to get fists to Ryan Morgan's high centre but James McCartney got back to clear his effort off the line.

Further scores by McGowan and another excellent individual effort from O'Connor ensured Glack took a four point lead into the break but it probably should have been more.

If The O'Connor's had been somewhat reluctant to take on goal chances in the opening half, that changed within 15 seconds of the restart as McGowan surged down the right before flashing a superb low finish across Eunan O'Hara and into the far corner.

That goal gave Glack a seven point stranglehold and they seldom looked like relaxing their grip. Further scores from Finbar O'Brien and Eoin Mackey only served to tighten the grip but Drum are never easily beaten and five minutes into the second half, they had a goal of their own.

Cathaior McCloskey was the architect, wriggling clear down the right side and with the angle closing on him, he was able to pick out Rory O'Reilly who steadied himself and hit the roof of the net without breaking stride.

But if it was a shock to Glack, they barely showed it.

the next three points belonged to the O'Connors, as if Glack were reminding Drum whose names was on the cup this year, Boyle and McGowan (2) the men on target.

Mcgowan had another two scores in him and while Niall Ferris was doing his best to keep the Glack defence honest, Glack had the cup in the bag from a long way out.

Even a late black card for veteran Jimmy O'Connor couldn't take the gloss of a day 38 years in the making. The O'Connor's have bided their time and they'll enjoy this one!

Glack scorers: Niall McGowan (1-5, 4f), Aaron Moore (0-2), Ryan Morgan (0-2, 1f), Jimmy O'Connor (0-1), Finbar O'Brien (0-1), Eoin Mackey (0-1), Cormac Boyle (0-1),

Drum scorers: Rory O'Reilly (1-0), Ruairi O'Reilly (0-2, 1f), Donal Brolly (0-1, 1f), Niall Ferris (0-3)

Glack: James Martin McLaughlin; Ronan O'Kane, Ciaran O'Brien, James O'Connor; Ryan O'Kane, Ciaran Carmichael, Ryan Morgan; Martin McGonigle, Edward McLaughlin; Finbar O'Brien, Niall McGowan, Liam O'Brien; Aaron Moore, Cormac Boyle, Eoin Mackey.

(Subs) Adam O'Kane for E Mackey, 36mins; Evin King for R O'Kane, 48mins; Jason Canning for A Moore, 55mins; Paul King for C Boyle, 58mins; Oran Canning for L O'Brien, 60mins; Luke McLaughlin for J O'Connor (Black Card), 62mins

Yellow Cards: C Carmichael, 53mins

Black Card: J O'Connor, 61mins;

Drum: Eunan O'Hara, Liam Millar, Damien Brolly, Seamus O'Kane; Shane Millar, Alex Moore, Niall Burke; Gabriel Farren, James McCartney; Donal Brolly, Ryan O'Kane, Kevin O'Reilly; Niall Ferris, Rory O'Reilly, Cathair McCloskey.

(Subs) Marc McLaughlin for A Moore, 41mins; Tommy McCloskey for D Brolly, 43mins;Conor O'Kane for C McCloskey, 56mins;

Yellow Cards: J McCartney, 53mins;

Referee: Sean McGuigan