Senior Football Championship quarter-final
Edendork v Carrickmore
Friday, Healy Park, 8.3pm
CARRICKMORE’S attacking flair provided one of the highlights of the opening round of the LCC Group Tyrone SFC, and they’ll stick with a winning strategy in Friday’s quarter-final clash with Edendork.
A whopping 2-22 sent Derrylaughan crashing to a double scores defeat at Pomeroy, but at Healy Park this weekend they face a more difficult task against last year’s beaten semi-finalists.
Barry Daly was part of a potent full forward line that shot 1-15 in the last round, and he’s enjoying the faster supply of ball to the front men.
“We’re playing a more attacking style of football this year, which probably helps us in the inside forward line,” he said.
“Whenever you get to my age, you have to enjoy it, so that’s’ exactly what I’m going to do. You’re enjoying it whenever you’re winning.”
Daly (34) shared a ten points haul with brother Ciaran, who’s 14 years his junior, in the 2-22 to 1-11 defeat of the Barry’s.
That mix of youth and experience is reflected in every sector of the field, with young talent breaking into the team to learn off seasoned campaigners and make their own valuable contributions.
“We’re only in the first or second stage of developing into that high quality top four team.
“We’ve got a lot of good young players coming through, who have won a fair bit this last five or six years.
“It will take this experience this year to get those lads pushed on that wee bit further, and hopefully within this next couple of years we’ll make that breakthrough.”
Omagh v Errigal Ciaran
Saturday, Loughmacrory, 4.45pm
OMAGH half-back Barry Tierney has discounted the notion that St Enda’s recent twin title triumphs will hand them the edge in Saturday’s heavyweight Senior Championship quarter-final collision with Errigal Ciaran.
The Healy Park unit have a raft of players in their line-up who have twice got their hands on the O’Neill Cup (2014 & 2017), while a much fewer number in the opposition camp were involved the last time Errigal were crowned county champions in 2012.
However former Tyrone campaigner Tierney stresses that Errigal have sufficient quality in their midst, as well as established winners, to negate the argument that the current Omagh squad hold the edge in terms of past successes on the domestic front.
“That will count for nothing as they have won plenty in Tyrone as well, at senior and youth level. They have no shortage of county players and have plenty of quality up front. When you have forwards like they have, in Petey Harte and Darragh Canavan, they are going to take a bit of watching.
“County men like that can make a big difference in club football and we know we have a stiff task to try and stop not just them two but others like Darren Canavan and Pauric McAnenly as well. They can also get scores from the back too. So we will have a lot of work to do to contain them.”
Both Omagh and Errigal produced workmanlike displays in the first round to dispatch with both Dungannon and Eglish respectively, but Tierney felt neither side would be too anxious about the nature of their showings, given it was their first day out on the Championship stage.
“Errigal were probably the same as ourselves, just focusing on getting through the first round and it wasn’t too important the quality of the performance. The two teams know each other well and have met in many big games over the years. It will be a tough again.
Verdict: Errigal Ciaran
Trillick v Clonoe
Sunday, Carrickmore, 3pm
CLONOE stalwart PJ Lavery insists they’re still as good as any team in the county ahead of Sunday’s block-buster quarter-final against Trillick.
The O’Rahilly’s haven’t been firing on all cylinders this year, but they have a well-justified reputation as a championship team and cruised past a depleted Moy side in the first-round.
Clonoe will face a much stiffer test of their ambitions in Sunday’s last-eight against Trillick, but Lavery says their confidence is rejuvenated after a recent run of positive results.
“We did a lot of heavy training at the beginning of the year, and maybe confidence had dipped after being knocked out by Ardboe and Pomeroy in the last two championships.
“But we’ve come back strongly after the summer. We went to Dromore which is never an easy place to go to and looked comfortable the whole way throughout the game.
“It’s not often you go to Dromore and get a seven-point win so we knew the skill-set was still there, and we went to Omagh and won a tough physical game as well.
“I’ve been playing for ten or 12 years now and with all due respect to the league, it’s a building block for the championship and thankfully we got over the Moy.”
Their opponents Trillick demolished Dromore in the first-round, and Lavery is fulsome in his praise of one of the big favourites for this year’s championship.
“They haven’t look back since winning the title in 2015. They were a lot of people’s favourites last year but it didn’t help that Richie Donnelly was out injured.
“They’ve plenty of good footballers but we’ll go there and give our all. We class ourselves as good as anybody in the county so why not give it a go.”
Killyclogher v Coalisland
Sunday, Carrickmore, 4.45pm
Coalisland and Killyclogher have developed a fierce championship rivalry in recent years with a win each in county finals, but at least Fianna attacker Paddy McNeice did not have to endure the pain of defeat in 2016.
St Marys recorded a comprehensive win over the Fianna that year in a replay but the former Tyrone star was in New York at the time with his partner Zara.
He recalled, “It was great getting to see a bit of the world and we had a fantastic time. I played for New York in the championship and we were very unlucky not to beat Roscommon. However there is nothing like playing for your own club and it was tough missing that final. I was gutted for the lads when the result was coming through from the replay on the Friday night. It was definitely hard to be away at that time but that was the decision I made and it was a great experience in America.”
Firmly back on home soil, McNiece was on hand in last year’s O’Neill Cup showdown to score a second half goal against Killyclogher as Coalisland gained their revenge.
Carrickmore is likely to be packed for Sunday’s mouth-watering quarter-final and McNeice believes the Fianna will have to be on the top of their game for 60 minutes to win.
“We beat Ardboe in the first round and for the first half they pushed us to the pin of our collars. We knew we would be up against it. They’re a good team and last year were very unlucky not to reach the final when they lost to a late goal to Killyclogher.
“In the first half they ran through us too easily but thankfully we sorted it out during the half-time break. We have a good mix with more experienced players like Niall Kerr, Plunkett Kane and Stephen McNally and younger players coming through as well.”
McNeice is acutely aware though that Killyclogher will again present formidable opposition.
“Like ourselves, obviously, they have been in two county finals in the last three years. They are a serious force and have very experienced men on the line in Cathal Corey and Tony Scullion. Cathal was over Glenties in 2010 when they beat us in the Ulster semi-final so he knows the game.