By Alan Rodgers
FORMAL events to mark the success of the Tyrone team in winning their fourth All-Ireland title nine days ago are being put on hold as the focus of the new Sam Maguire Cup holders switches to their anticipated return to club action.
The players who gained such an historic achievement at Croke Park on September 11 have spent the past week celebrating at various locations around the county. They have also been travelling back to their local primary schools, although the absence of the Sam Maguire Cup as a focal point is disappointing.
On Sunday the players represented their clubs again, among them the four members of the Tyrone team from Trillick.
Mattie and Richie Donnelly and Lee and Rory Brennan were part of the panel which gained glory against Mayo.
The St Macartan’s club chairman, Seamus McCaughey, said it was an historic achievement for the ‘Reds’ whose exploits in the O’Neill Cup have been legendary over the years.
“We’ll not be having anything formal for the players until the dinner dance at the end of the year or so. The full focus now is switching to the club championship,” he said.
“Before now, our only All-Ireland winner was Niall Gormley, which was amazing considering the many talented players from Trillick who have represented Tyrone over the years. But none of them managed to win the All-Ireland until Niall and now we’ve five players in total with the precious medals.
“It’s particularly noteworthy and special for Mattie Donnelly who has been part of the panel for 11 years and could so easily have slipped the net. But there’s no diversions for them now from the club action, and we’ll celebrate their achievement in due course.
“I’d say most clubs will probably be the same, but there’s been great excitement in the past few weeks.”
The other two clubs with the most representatives on the panel were Errigal Ciaran and Edendork. The St Malachy’s had the added honour of having three on the starting team – Niall Morgan, Conn Kilpatrick and Darren McCurry.