By Niall Gartland
YOUNG Trillick forward Ciaran Daly is living the dream as a fully fledged scoring forward on the newly crowned O’Neill Cup winners
Daly, still only 20 years of age, was in top form last Sunday evening on a historic evening for the Reds, scoring 1-2 from play on the way to an extra-time victory over Errigal Ciaran.
But team ethos is key for this Trillick side, and he said he never lost faith even when Errigal rattled off three points on the trot to bring the game to extra-time.
Daly said: “We were disappointed with our second-half display to be honest. We came out of the blocks very well in the first-half but in the second-half we couldn’t get our hands on the ball, and fair play to Errigal for that, they showed why they’re county champions.
“But when it went to extra-time I felt confident as I’d always back our boys to the very last, we’ve been here before and there’s such a great spirit in the camp, we never give up.”
Daly was only ‘a cub’ when Trillick bridged a gap of 29 years when they claimed the Tyrone Senior Championship in 2015. He’s been part of the panel for a few years now and there’s been some down moments, but he was always hopeful that they’d come good.
“I was only a cub in 2015 really, but watching on in 2019 was definitely inspiring and I made my debut in 2020.
“It obviously didn’t go to plan against Dungannon in the final and we’d a few relatively quiet years but I was always optimistic as the boys have such great character.”
Indeed, they had their setbacks this year as well, particularly on the injury front, and things weren’t looking particularly promising when their first round battle with Loughmacrory went to penalties. But they came through that game unscathed and seemed to get better and better with every round, culminating in a deserved victory over the holders Errigal Ciaran in the final.
“Even before the championship we had our setbacks with the loss of Mattie [Donnelly] and Mickey [Gallagher] to injury, and Simon [Garrity] was unavailable. The losses were tough to take but the quality of boys on the panel is brilliant.
“We had 50 training sessions from the start of the year, every man put their shoulder to the wheel and got their reward. It’s an unbelievable feeling, the sea of red on the pitch, you dream of those days growing up.”