Curse of the champions


Dromore’s semi-final exit

DROMORE emerged triumphant in the 2021 championship and deservedly so as they lay waste to Coalisland in a relatively one-sided Tyrone SFC final. Armed with a potent blend of youth and experience (they’d won the Ulster u-21 tournament a few years prior), they’d have fancied their chances of holding onto their title but they lost the semi-final to eventual champions Errigal Ciaran. They did give a very good account of themselves but Errigal were ravenous on the evening and got the win.


Dungannon’s first-round exit

DUNGANNON won arguably the greatest, at least in terms of sheer drama, Tyrone Senior Championship final of all time when they overcame a brilliant Trillick side in 2020. It was their first O’Neill Cup in 64 years so it’s fair to say it was a long time in coming for a Clarkes team that showed incredible spirit en route to getting their hands on the O’Neill Cup. They fell at the first hurdle of their championship defence but they could still be proud of their efforts as they lost out in extra-time to eventual champions Dromore in a high quality match.


Trillick’s final defeat

TRILLICK came oh so close to bucking the trend when they made it to the final in 2020. Managed by Nigel Seaney and Liam Donnelly, they were a bit of a machine and were fairly strong favourites to get the better of surprise packets Dungannon in the final. A brilliant Lee Brennan goal early on pointed to a Trillick victory but the Clarkes dug their heels in and brought the game to extra-time. It ended up in penalties and unfortunately for Trillick it wasn’t to be, but hey, they haven’t gone away and are one step away from winning a ninth senior championship title this Sunday against Errigal Ciaran.


Coalisland’s semi-final exit

DEATH, taxes and nobody retaining the Tyrone Championship after Coalisland fell short in a dramatic semi-final against Trillick in 2019. Na Fianna won the 2018 final with a deserved victory over Killyclogher and could call upon legends of the Tyrone club scene like Plunkett Kane and Stephen McNally. But winning the back-to-back was a big ask and they lost by a single point in a nail-biting contest against Trillick in Pomeroy. To be fair, Trillick deserved their victory as they played most of the football in a tense second-half.


Omagh’s quarter-final defeat

OMAGH St Enda’s were crowned Tyrone Senior Championship winners in 2017 with an impressive performance in the final against Errigal Ciaran. They could have no complaints, however, when they defeated by neighbours Killyclogher in the quarter-final stage the following year. Killyclogher, managed by Dominic Corrigan, dethroned Omagh on a scoreline of 1-12 to 0-9 at Loughmacrory as Omagh bowed out in fairly meek fashion.


Killyclogher’s first-round exit

NOW this definitely was a shock. Killyclogher won their second ever O’Neill Cup title in 2016 with a replay victory over Coalisland, tearing Na Fianna asunder with a devastating display epitomised by the game’s stand-out player Mark Bradley. But their championship defence didn’t exactly go to plan as they lost out in a shock defeat to Pomeroy back in their first year at senior level. The Plunketts were full value for their 1-9 to 0-7 victory and they made it all the way to the last four where they gave Errigal Ciaran their fill of it.


Trillick’s quarter-final exit

TRILLICK won their first Tyrone Senior Championship title in decades when they overcame Killyclogher back in 2015. It was their first year up from Intermediate, but in hindsight their long-awaited O’Neill Cup triumph wasn’t exactly the shock of the century when you consider the quality of player at their disposal. But defending the title turned out to be beyond them as Killyclogher gained a measure of revenge in the quarter-finals on a scoreline of 2-10 to 0-9. Trillick endured a sluggish start to the game and left themselves too much to do in the second half, but credit also to Killyclogher who ended the campaign with the title.


Omagh’s quarter-final exit

A STRONG Omagh team claimed the 2014 Championship thanks to a last-gasp goal from Ronan O’Neill. However, their championship defence ended at the quarter-final stage the following year when they came up against Dromore. Omagh trailed by 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time, and while they just about hung in there in the second half, the game was finally settled with a breakaway goal by Dromore sub Fearghal O’Neill in the final minute of the contest.


Clonoe’s quarter-final

A GOAL-HAPPY Clonoe side won the 2013 title, their eighth ever, with a 3-8 to 0-12 side over Carrickmore. However, Dromore put paid to their ambitions of defending their title in a hotly contested semi-final clash in August 2014. It was a cracking game of football with Colm McCullagh’s late fisted point ensuring Dromore qualified for the semi-finals.

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