Saturday 24 March 2018

Roy of the Rovers not a patch on rise of former pub team Glenville

Neil Ahern

IF Frank S Pepper, the creator of 'Roy of the Rovers' cartoons, wrote this yarn today he would probably be due a significant pay-rise.

Just 13 years ago, Glenville Football Club was a side established from the foundations of a pub team -- the Silver Granite in Palmerstown.

In 1997, they set up shop in the lower leagues of the AUL Saturday league.

A meteoric rise that has yielded seven promotions has rocketed them to the higher levels of Irish amateur football.

And tomorrow afternoon, the lowest-ranked club in the FAI Cup third round play host to the country's most successful team of the last decade, Bohemians.

Ciaran McDonnell, Glenville's captain, is likely to perform the pre-match duties with his opposite number, seven-time League of Ireland winner Owen Heary. The two right-backs couldn't be further apart on the footballing spectrum.

"Well, I'm not as old as him and wouldn't have the amount of medals he has," beams McDonnell. "But in fairness I have been promoted seven times and won a Cup!"


The Glenville lads are not short on confidence.

"James Russell (manager) is a very ambitious guy; he doesn't let us rest on our laurels, he uses the term 'professional amateurs' all the time, that's how he refers to us," says McDonnell.

"When we started, the dream was intermediate football and we achieved that two years ago, but we didn't stop there -- we got promoted again.

"This year we were looking at the top (Leinster Senior League) division; we want to be playing against Dublin Bus and the Crumlins and unfortunately we didn't achieve that.

"But now we're in the third round of the FAI Cup and playing against the best team in the country at the moment and one of the biggest clubs in Ireland. It's just fantastic."

One man who is no stranger to the higher levels of Irish football is their head coach Derek McArdle, who played alongside the likes of Steve Staunton under Brian Kerr as an underage international, and also enjoyed spells in the League of Ireland with Kilkenny City and St Patrick's Athletic.

Indeed, his first day as a player at Richmond Park -- the venue of tomorrow night's clash -- was also that of one Pat Fenlon.

Tonight, McArdle and his team will be hoping to humiliate his old team-mate and cause what would probably be the biggest upset in the history of the competition.

Certainly, the cup can produce magic, but surely it couldn't pull this rabbit out of the hat?

Irish Independent

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