Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Senior success is Donnelly aim

Peter Donnelly is hoping to replicate some of the success he has enjoyed in Tyrone's colours when he lines out with Coalisland in next Sunday's Tyrone senior football championship final against Dromore at Healy Park, Omagh (4.00).

The strapping Donnelly collected All Ireland Minor and Under 21 medals with his native county in 2001 - a significant double triumph that underlined his talents.

Donnelly is now keen to claim what would be a first senior county championship medal as part of a Coalisland side who have taken the Tyrone campiagn by storm.

He's not the only one in the side, either, who can boast All Ireland success.

Jonathan Curran, Niall Kerr and Brian Toner all landed Minor medals in 2004 and since then have helped to plot Coalisland's renaissance which has had its roots in ongoing success in the popular Ulster Minor Club tournament promoted by St Paul's.

Indeed, four of the side that took Coalisland to glory in the tournament a year ago will be in the starting line-up for Sunday while a sprinkling of others will be on the bench.

On the other hand, Richard Thornton, now regarded as among Coalisland's senior citizens, was in the Tyrone squad that landed the National League crown in 2002 having also shared in their Under 21 triumph the previous year.

But while Coalisland will take a solid team ethic and rampant desire for county honours into Sunday's decider, they will come up against a solid wall of experience in a Dromore outfit powered by Ryan McMenamin, Colm McCullouigh, Fabian O'Neill and Barry Collins.

And that's why Coalisland will be looking to the fetching and carrying skills of the tall, lean Donnelly to maximise first-phase possession in what is regarded as one of the most intriguing final pairings in recent years.

The former Minor ace is viewed as the player around whom the Coalisland strategy will revolve in a match that has captivated followers from all areas of the county.

For either county to win would mean a major breakthrough and open up the possibility of making a big imapct in the Ulster Club Championship.

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