Jamie Grant admits that Termon’s 2019 minor run all the way to an Ulster Club MFC final was a special time.
Underdogs for so long, the Burn Road outfit defied all odds to finally land an A minor county championship last September.
But it was their December trek – all the way to a St Stephen’s Day provincial duel with Derry kingpins Lavey – that really caught the imagination.
Central to all of the above was Jamie Grant. “It was a great season overall for the club,” said the stylish full back as he collected the Donegal News Sports Personality of the Month award for December, in conjunction with Brian McCormick Sports & Leisure.
“When you see the hard work paying off it’s very encouraging. Yeah, the Ulster final was a real disappointment.
“But after a few days we were probably able to look back and put the whole year into perspective. We won a first ever minor county A title for the club.
“That final, that night against Gaoth Dobhair in Convoy, was unbelievable. The final few moments, the late goal and point, it was just a brilliant way to win it. No one gave us a chance and we proved them wrong. That made it extra special.”
The celebrations pitch side were spectacular with supporters, friends and family spilling onto the field to join in. But Grant says the scenes and faces that greeted the side back home in Termon village was his favourite part.
“The joy it brought to older people in the club… that was probably the nicest thing when we finally got home that night. 54 years we’d been waiting for this and to finally get over the line was something we’ll all never forget.”
Termon easily accounted for Monaghan champs Emyvale in the last eight in Ulster by 6-14 to 0-6 to tee up a huge last four clash with Down heavies Kiloo.
In between, Trevor Alcorn’s lads had the small matter of a domestic League final encounter with Four Masters. They were expected to add that silverware to the cupboard with relative enough ease.
But no one told Masters who spectacularly tore up the script that day in Burt.
“We weren’t focused against Four Masters,” admitted Grant. “And that was a big lesson. They were a very good side too. They deserved it and we had no complaints. It was probably the kick we needed in the middle of Ulster. It was another learning curve for us.
“Emyvale – they just didn’t turn up first day out. We were at ourselves and we really powered on. But after that Masters result we had to have a real good look at ourselves.
“Kilcoo, we knew they were a much different proposition to Emyvale. Their seniors were going so well and they were caught up in that and had some of that momentum.
“We were underdogs but we dug in and we got through it. The final, it was such a massive step up again. Lavey were top class – so well drilled. They kept the ball so well. They were a defensive side and we allowed ourselves to be drawn into their game plan.
“It was a hard one to take but again, we will take so much learning from it in the long term.”
He added: Looking back now, it was amazing. The day after Christmas day, to be heading by the bus load to Belfast for an Ulster final. I suppose we all went easy on the Christmas dinner, you couldn’t go full out!
“No one had any issue with it. We really seen how good the GAA community is around Termon. That day especially captured it all.”
It’s a new year but there is no let off for Grant and he’ll be part of the St Eunan’s College Mac Rory Cup side on Saturday that takes on Patrician High School, Carrickmacross at O’Donnell Park (throw-in, 2pm) with a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition on the line.
“We’re hoping to bring our best efforts there. There is a great chemistry in the squad. As much as we’re all big rivals for our clubs, we really pull it all together for the college.
“David (O’Herlihy) is excellent and he has us well drilled. It’s O’Donnell Park, a home game I suppose. So we have to make that count.”