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Brothers in arms march into battle in quest for silverware

By John Campbell

Published 10/10/2015

All action: Mattie Donnelly has provided power surge
All action: Mattie Donnelly has provided power surge

Trilick have had to exercise considerable patience in their ongoing bid to be crowned Tyrone senior football champions.

Not since 1986 has the trophy come to rest in this homely club in the west of the county but tomorrow the famine could be brought to an end should the side overcome Killyclogher in a county championship decider at Healy Park, Omagh, that has captured the imagination of even the most discerning fans.

At the outset of the competition, a Trillick versus Killyclogher final had been deemed nothing more than fanciful yet both sides remain in the frame for honours because of their shared towering ambition and relentless work-rate.

In a match that will showcase the talents of a raft of established county team players and highlight a mini-platoon of emerging talent, watching Tyrone boss Mickey Harte is likely to be provided with useful pointers for the 2016 season. Trillick's four sets of brothers - Richard and Mattie Donnelly, Rory and Lee Brennan, Niall and Shane Gormley and Gerry and Sean Kelly - can help to set the tone for what could prove to a historic success.

Mattie Donnelly's endeavours with Tyrone this year have not surprisingly propelled him into the limelight and now his stunning contribution to Trillick's power surge is keeping him there.

But the all-action midfield ace is conscious that Killyclogher's desire to repeat their 2003 title success will be based on the fluency engendered within their solid mix of youth and experience.

With Harte already strongly focused on bolstering his squad for 2016, the opportunity to impress the triple All-Ireland winning boss will be a further incentive for players to rise to the occasion.

Trillick's generous ration of talent is matched by that of Killyclogher for whom Dermot Carlin, Tiarnan McCann, Mark Bradley and Conall McCann can provide leadership, especially when the heat comes on. Carlin formally stepped down from the Red Hands squad this year while Tiarnan McCann made headlines for all the wrong reasons following his 'brush' with Darren Hughes in the Tyrone v Monaghan All-Ireland quarter-final but tomorrow they get the perfect opportunity to make a positive statement.

Yet Trillick's cohesive, structured game-plan may stand them in good stead to such an extent that an all-too-long famine could be terminated in the grand manner.

Belfast Telegraph

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