Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Ardboe in the dock

Ardboe, still reeling from the shockwaves after their dramatic eclipse by Dromore in the Tyrone championship decider on Sunday, could now find themselves confronted by not one, but two additional formidable challenges this week.

They are due to meet Carrickmore in the All County League semi-final tomorrow night at their opponents’ ground (7.30) and may yet find themselves in the dock because of incidents which occurred immediately after Sunday’s contest.

The Tyrone Central Competitions Committee is awaiting the match report from referee Sean Quinn and looks certain to launch a full-scale investigation into allegations that punches were thrown at him.

The Brackaville official awarded Dromore an injury-time penalty when they were two points in arrears and Colm McCullagh’s converted superbly to give his side victory by the narrowest of margins. In the process, former Irish League soccer player McCullagh became the top scorer in the championship this year.

Ardboe players and fans were incensed at the decision and made their views known at the conclusion when tension gripped Healy Park. Calm was restored, but now Ardboe find themselves preparing for another important game with the threat of disciplinary action hanging over them.

Tyrone county board spokesman Damien Harvey explained: “The Competitions Committee will discuss the referee’s report when it is made available to them and we will take things from there. It would be a great pity if the incident at the end were to detract from what is now generally regarded as having been the best county final for many, many years in Tyrone. We had some absolutely magnificent individual displays and I would have thought that this match did a great deal for the image of football here.”

Ardboe, for whom Brian McGuigan and Kyle Coney in particular were outstanding, have re-grouped for tomorrow night’s league semi-final, but are still angry at what they feel was a particularly harsh penalty decision.

Errigal Ciaran await the winners of the semi-final in the All County League final, a date for which has still to be confirmed.

Dromore, meanwhile, will now meet Monaghan champions Clontibret in the Ulster Club Championship quarter-final at Clones on November 1 and their officials are firmly focussed on adding the provincial crown to their county prize.

“When we won the Tyrone title for the first time in 2007 we feel we did not do ourselves justice in the Ulster Club series,” said a club spokesman.

“We are more experienced now and with Crossmaglen Rangers out of the mix, most of the sides in there will maybe fancy their chances of taking over from them.

“We have confidence in our own ability but we are certainly very far from complacent.”

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