Shock defeat to Glen proved Steelstown Ladies' wake up call says goalscorer McGurk

Glen players crowd around Steelstown’s Dara McKeever.  Photo: George Sweeney
Glen players crowd around Steelstown’s Dara McKeever. Photo: George Sweeney

McGurk's excellent 16th minute fisted finish put the Brian Ogs 2-2 to 0-1 ahead and all but took the game away from a shell shocked Watty Graham's side who never looked like regaining a foothold. By half-time Steelstown's lead was 11 points and McGurk said lessons had been learned from the previous encounter.

"It’s a great feeling. I'm sure everyone knows from the first round when Glen beat us by a point, we have been really rallying round together to get through the rest of the championship and make sure we reached the final and now it's great to have four in a row" explained the half forward.

"The result in Glen that night was a big wake up call for us but sometimes you need that because obviously we hadn't been beaten in Derry for a while. We could have been too composed going through to the final but we used that result; we rallied together and knew what we had to to do. We had to dig deep through the rest of the campaign and to get a win like that in the final, it's unbelievable.

"We knew ourselves we didn't play well that first day in Glen, especially in the first half. It was like we just stood there and watched the game go by. Second half we obviously played much better to bring it back to one point after being eight down, but we knew what we had to do after that. We just had to dig deep and we did that."

Saturday's was Steelstown fifth successive senior county final and probably their most impressive display yet after Emma Doherty's early penalty set them on their way.

"As I said, we knew what we had to do," added McGurk, "We had to prove what had happened at the start of the campaign wasn't us. We had to turn around and say, 'This is who we are and what we can do'. And it just showed today how good we can be and how well the girls can work together."

Steelstown attentions now turn to the Ulster Club Championship and this weekend’s date with Omagh St Enda's in Healy Park. And after last season's controversy when the 2021 Ulster Intermediate finalists were forced to forfeit their provincial semi-final after a late switch of venue, McGurk is keen to ensure Steelstown put their best foot forward.

"With Ulster, you can only ever take one game at a time but hopefully we can get back to where we were last year and make a bigger statement by hopefully getting to an Ulster final.

"It's a quick turnaround, but we will be allowed a wee celebration tonight. The girls are that dedicated that they will enjoy this evening but be right back to the drawing board on Monday and preparing for Omagh. When you get into Ulster there are no easy games so it's about taking each game as it comes."