One of my earliest memories of watching sport on television was the FA Cup Final of 1962; as a young boy I watched on a small black and white set in a neighbour’s house as Spurs beat Burnley 3-1 and the third goal was a penalty slotted home with ease by Danny Blanchflower.

As a man, Danny was coolness personified.

He was witty, too. When talking about little Northern Ireland’s approach to games, he joked that they tried to confuse the opposition; “We’d aim to equalise before the other team scored.”

There was much, much more to Blanchflower, however, than being the joker in the pack.

He was a rare talent – intelligent and articulate, shrewd, courageous and determined in standing up for what he believed in and brilliant at his job. All qualities which would make any man or woman successful generally, not just in sport which has lessons transferrable to all aspects of our lives.

It was Danny who said: “The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style.” That’s another maxim, if applied properly, would enhance our character and society generally.

Fermanagh sport has been enjoying some glory – again – this week and it’s been said often that this county punches above its weight in the sporting arena; and indeed in many other walks of life too.

In particular, two of our teams excelled unbelievably well on Saturday with incredible achievements. St. Michael’s College gaelic football squad have been top class in reaching the Hogan Cup final, and Ballinamallard United are in fantasy land after booking a date in the Irish Cup final.

At the moment, everyone involved in both groups is living the dream and rightly so. They should enjoy the good times, remembering all the days when they’ve battled through more difficult experiences. Glory doesn’t come without blood, sweat and tears along the way.

And hard work. Blanchflower said: “Ideas are funny things, they never work unless you do.” Again, this applies to life.

And these people have certainly worked. Perhaps, in the moment of now, they won’t fully realise that these are days of their lives. They will always treasure these moments, and perhaps also they don’t realise the impact they are having in inspiring the lives of others.

The man who has led Ballinamallard to this success is Harry McConkey, though even in the moments after the final whistle on Saturday he was quick to deflect the credit to all those in the club and the supporters.

I know Harry well, and we met up regularly for coffee and conversation. We talk about faith and family, about heavier matters and we also laugh at the lighter side of life. He often talks with real affection about the special kids he taught and still takes an interest in their lives.

Inevitably, we talk about football and I never cease to be amazed about his knowledge, passion and the level of detail in his preparation. More so, though, he talks about the people at the club, his empathy with the players and the contribution by everyone at the club. The amount of work that

goes on every day at the club by so many people is amazing, and their day out at Windsor Park in May is richly deserved by everyone.

There’s a great video produced by the IFA which captures perfectly the bond between the supporters and the squad, with one of the fans who turned out in droves on Saturday saying they were “beside themselves.”

You can’t put a value on smiles on faces.

Blanchflower, again, said: “Whether you’re a player, manager, director, supporter, reporter, kit man or tea lady, football possesses the power to make the week ahead sparkle with a sense of joyous well-being.”

Joyous well-being is in abundance at St. Michael’s College at the moment. Dom Corrigan has had such a massive impact on many lives at the College for years and what a crowning glory it would be for the man if they lifted the Hogan Cup on Saturday.

This group seems to be a special bunch, as evidenced by a couple of cameos I recall. After winning the MacRory Cup at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh a couple of weeks ago, their captain Brandon Horan, while basking in the glory of a personally superb performance and in the emotional cauldron of the team’s success, he composed himself.

Then he dedicated the win to young Oisin McGrath, a classmate of this team who died tragically at the school four years ago. I never knew Oisin, but he must have been a special young man and his wonderful parents, Nigel and Sharon continue to help others in the name of their son.

Also, I thought the comment in the Impartial by Josh Largo-Elis, that they’d like to win the Hogan “for Dom”, was indicative of the special relationship between the teacher and the players.

Another lovely story within the story, is the admiration the boys have for Mark McGoldrick’s role in the management team. Because of a medical condition, Mark can’t play but he’s a great example to everyone of the way you can still play a part in sport, even if you can’t play at all or even if your standard isn’t quite up to the top level.

I had hoped that Fermanagh would make it a hat-trick of finals when I travelled to Loughgall to watch Enniskillen Rangers in the semi-final of the Irish Junior Cup, the trophy they’ve won the last two years. It wasn’t to be. I’m sure everyone connected with the club was desperately disappointed, especially their manager, Michael Kerr.

Understandably so; but when the dust settles, he and everyone at the club will remember the glory of the last couple of years which are in the record books, and his achievement in bringing Rangers back to the top of the local game again.

Getting over disappointment and moving on to better things again is another part of life.

A wee while ago, Michael was approached by a player who was struggling in his private life; it was such a tribute to the young manager that this person felt able to approach Michael looking for help and as well as being a good manager, it’s clear that he’s a leader and an individual who has an impact on the lives of others.

I was lucky enough to play in a good team with players better than me, and I won a few medals. But, I’m not even sure where those gongs are now. I do, however, know where the friends are that I made through sport and those friendships are still dear to me years later, and I’ve many memories

of the crack, the disappointments, the stories and all the great experiences. That’s the real value of sport.

I remember people who believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself and it gave me confidence to move forward.

This week, as we celebrate success, we’re reminded too that in the midst of life there is loss. And I was really saddened to hear of the death of Tom Noble, a wonderful human being who also impacted positively on many lives, not least in education and sport with Enniskillen Royal Boat Club. He has left an amazing legacy in the influence he had on many lives and on our community at large.

He has played a major part in Fermanagh’s sporting heritage; for years now this county has produced excellence in a range of sports in a range of age groups and gender, including Olympians, world champions, internationals and so on. While I am focusing on particular successes this week, let’s not forget all that has gone before, and is continuing now.

As well as basking in glory at the minute, let’s not forget the lessons for life that sport teaches us all.

The value of hard work. Trusting others, and indeed knowing who to trust. The importance of sharing our successes, and also sharing our failures. Getting over disappointments, and enjoying the good times when they come.

And the journeys aren’t over yet!