THERE are few men more proud of their native place than Fr Brian Darcy.
Fr Brian is steeped in the GAA and his father Hugh was a prominent GAA figure in the area along with the late Sandy MacConnell father of the famous MacConnell musical / journalistic clan.
And even though he has a very hectic schedule, nothing would prevent him from coming to Celtic Park to see his own go for Ulster glory.
Sadly, it was not to be and the Belnaleck players were understandably reluctant to talk after a most disappointing night.
Not so Fr Brian who gave an interesting context to that disappointing defeat.
“It was their first Ulster final and they played quite well but they came up against a team that is more used to playing Intermediate football as they competed in the Donegal Intermediate Championship last year.
“The difficulty with Fermanagh is that we don’t have enough competition at that level.
‘The boys played fairly well and gave it everything and it was a great achievement for a very small area like ours to get to a provincial final.
“They have a very small selection and when you go up against stronger teams, we are one village, but we were also up against the pick of three villages.
“And of course Lee was a big loss to us, he is a county man and we need everyone we can get. We were the better team in the first half and we had a bit of impetus, but we did not punish them with scores.
“They got a goal, took it very well and that was the difference in the teams”.
But he said he was “so proud” to see the young men of Belnaleck reach an historic Ulster final.
“I never was as proud as anything in my life. “I was up in Dublin this morning (Saturday) and I have to be back for another broadcast tomorrow morning (Sunday) in Dublin again but I would never have missed it.
‘This was a special day or Belnaleck and those days don’t happen too often and you would be so proud of a bunch of lads who had to struggle to get through their own county after being beaten in two junior county finals in 2015 and 2016 and then to come through in Ulster so well.
“They beat teams from big counties like Down and Derry en route to this final. “This is a young team and we would love to see them sticking together. To get to an Ulster final and to win it on your first appearance would have been a colossal achievement and they were not that far off it.
“They are now in the Fermanagh Intermediate Championship and isn’t it just fantastic that small places like our own Belnaleck producing three and four players for the Fermanagh county panel when big towns are producing none.”