McCann savouring a summer of ‘clubbing’

TIERNAN McCann is accustomed to spending the summer months preparing for colossal championship ties with Tyrone, but he’s in no way underwhelmed by this year’s necessary shift to a club-first approach.

Killyclogher have established themselves as one of the county’s form teams since the playing action recommenced in late July, and it’s no coincidence that their intercounty stars have been to the fore of their efforts.

Having repelled a characteristically dogged Carrickmore team in the first-round, they now face reigning champions Trillick in Friday night’s quarter-final, in what happens to be a repeat of the 2015 decider.

Trillick won that particular battle, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since and Tiernan McCann is simply enjoying the novel nature of this year’s club season.

Anyone I’ve spoken to has really enjoyed going back to their club,” he said.

I’m training locally and training with my friends so it’s been a real breath of fresh air for a lot of us who have been on the county scene for nearly the last decade, so long may it continue.”

But it has to be said that this is very much a collective effort from Killyclogher at the moment, and some highly promising younger players have been given their chance to shine: four members of last year’s minor championship winning team started against Carrickmore, namely Oran Grimes, Mark Hayes, John Rafferty, and the latest addition from the McCann clan, Oisin.

We’ve had a real injection of youth and they’ve brought a lot of energy into our training. They’re brilliant footballers as well so we’re not as reliant on the older boys as we once were, even though they’re also been going really well and have been driving the thing on for 15 years.”

On our first night back we might have had 50 at training, so we’re back-boned by a strong panel and it’s really healthy for the club.”

Killyclogher undoubtedly have a point to prove after an entirely forgettable 2019. Tiernan has nothing but sympathy for last year’s manager, Cathal Corey, who was appointed relatively late in the day, and it was no great shock when they were dumped out of the championship in the quarter-finals by Coalisland.

They’ve already gone some way to make amends under their new boss Mark Henry, and a victory over Trillick would force the rest of Tyrone to sit up and take notice.

Last year we just about got over Donaghmore in the first-round. They were probably the better team. It was a torrid season last year and it wasn’t really fair on the management team that came in. Then we played Coalisland, probably the form team in Tyrone at the minute, and they just swept us by in Pomeroy.

The Tyrone Championship is notoriously competitive so we’re just glad to get to the next round, Trillick are the county champions and it’s going to be a massive challenge for us.”

By Niall Gartland

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW