By Alan Rodgers
ALL the usual expectations from the Tyrone Senior championship suggest that Dromore should already have been dispatched to the graveyard of champions in the race for the O’Neill Cup.
But the St Dympna’s have defied the odds in magnificent fashion and now stand on the brink of reaching the final for the second consecutive year. It’s 2005 since Carrickmore became the last club to successfully defend their title, although just two since Trillick reached the 2020 final as champions.
Ryan ‘Ricey’ McMenamin has extensive experience of guiding teams to county titles courtesy of his involvement with the St Macartan’s ladies. He’s relishing Dromore’s journey this year, and enjoying the prospect of continuing to defy the odds.
Win number two arrived in the wind and rain of Páirc Na Locha in Loughmacrory when Omagh were defeated by 0-6 to 0-5 in a low-scoring and intriguing encounter. Now the challenge of Errigal awaits and it’s one which the champions won’t be one bit overawed by.
“The performance against Omagh was just a real dogged one. But we’ve no pressure on us at the moment because everybody is saying that we can’t win it back to back. We’re just going out and enjoying the football,” said Ricey.
“I think the lads have shown great hunger during the past number of games. The match against Omagh was a derby one as it always is for the two of us, and there’s never a kick of the ball between us.
“Games like that are never enjoyable on the sideline, but they are on the pitch. People are telling us that we can’t win back to back titles, but we’re in the semi-final and we believe that we’ve as good a chance as anybody.”
They will, of course, be well aware of the talents within the Errigal team, but it’s a task that they’ll definitely step up to.
“We’re in the semi-final and you play the championship to win. I’m sure Errigal Ciaran will also feel that they’ve got every chance,” added the former St Dympna’s stalwart.
“Our bench kind of won for us against Killyclogher and then against Omagh. We knew that we’d have Niall (Sludden) for the last half hour or 20 minutes and that’s how it worked.
“The two wins have been massive in terms of boosting our confidence. You always want to defend your title and put up a show and I think we’re doing that. We’ve always said to the lads that our aim is to make the Dromore people proud.
“All that they expect from us is to go out and give it our all. If we lose having done that then people are one hundred per-cent.
“If we had lost against Omagh, then I think people would have been proud of our display. We always want to do it for the Dromore people.”