'He’d be in that foul a mood he wouldn’t talk to you for 20 minutes' - brotherhood fuelling Glen’s journey 1 week ago

'He’d be in that foul a mood he wouldn’t talk to you for 20 minutes' - brotherhood fuelling Glen’s journey

Emmett Bradley was the best player on the pitch when Watty Grahams Glen beat Maigh Cuilinn in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Connor Carville says that, if you beat him in a game of darts, he's the type of lad that wouldn't talk for the next 20 minutes.

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Michael Warnock is one of the oldest players on the Glen panel, at 30. 'Spike' has eight years on Eunan Mulholland but nowadays, with football breaking all barriers, the partners in the half-back-line are also partners-in-crime.

"You see them boys going out for breakfast and for coffee together the whole time! So we're even bridging gaps over the age profiles!" Carville laughs.

Brothers Alex, Ethan and Jack Doherty live in the Beaver drive estate in Maghera, next door to the Mulholland brothers, Cathal and Eunan.

All five of them started that day against Maigh Cuilinn and, just like that, you've already met half the team.

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The Bradleys, Emmett and Conlan, come into it then. They grew up in that same estate as did Ryan Dougan, who plays corner back, and Connor Carville, who's the captain of the team.

"I have an everlasting memory of the green machines," Bronagh Mulholland said in the brilliant the boys from the estate piece on Derry GAA recently.

Bronagh is Cathal and Eunan's mother, she's one of the club's foremost volunteers and she is an integral part of the Glen club.

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"The Dohertys and our boys got green machine go-karts, and just up and down that road on the green machine.

"They were going together in the pitch, coming home together from the pitch. Kicking about together, playing kerbsies, whatever it was."

They played every sport under the sun in that estate, racing around until sunset in Beaver, but football was always number one, as Carville told us on Tuesday.

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"A lot of the lads would have played hurling and soccer too - but playing for Glen and winning a Derry championship for Glen was something we talked about from when we were ten years of age."

They didn't wait around for it to happen either because, by the time they were 12, 13, 14, they were already making moves.

"It probably started out with that team winning an U14 Feile in 2008. It sort of snowballed from there.

"That team won an U16 championship and the the following year, the team above won a first minor championship and then we slowly started to win and realised we could win and learned how to win."

Carville is under-selling it slightly there because growing up, as anyone in Ulster will tell you, the boys from the estate won everything there was to win. Between 2011 and 2017 for example, they won four Derry minor championships, four Ulster minor championships, three Derry under-21 championships, and three Ulster under-21 championships.

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They were the coming team.

The step-up to senior was always going to be the big one, seeing as the club had never won a senior title before, but after losing to Slaughtneil in a final in 2019, and a quarter final in 2020, Glen went onto win two-in-row. They lost to Kilcoo in Ulster in '21, but beat them in the final in '22, and now in '23 they're preparing for the biggest game in club GAA.

"Our club hadn't won a county title before, and there was a massive weight lifted our shoulders when we won that first one.

"It was a real focus for everyone and a lot of other people around Derry said that Glen would never win a county championship so to win that one was massive for us.

"We had won four Ulster minors in a row, and a lot of that team came through at a time when the senior team had been relegated to intermediate.

"So a lot of us started out our adult career playing intermediate, and that was actually a real help, to bed young players in and gain confidence playing against adult players."

Connor Carville captained St Pat's Maghera to the Hogan Cup in 2013.

Gradually, they climbed to mountain.

"We've a couple of lads who just do not accept any drop in standards at all and we're proud of that as well. That if you're going to be a Glen player you have to do things the right way and that's massive for us. 

"A lot of the team would be best friends. You'd see lads being best men at boys' weddings and that kind of thing.

"I would say the thing I'm most nervous about doing this media day is the stick I'm going to get from lads if I get something wrong. They don't be long calling you out, now!" he says.

It's certainly been worthwhile, because now they're coming close to the summit...