Carrickmore dig deep to see off 13-man Fianna
The Tyrone senior championship continued at the weekend when four sides with serious title ambitions were in action and there were wins for Carrickmore and Errigal Ciaran over Coalisland and Dromore respectively.
Record O'Neill Cup winners Carrickmore took on the Fianna at Omagh on Friday night and what a contest that proved to be as they emerged 2-8 to 2-6 winners.
There was drama in the opening quarter as county stars Martin Penrose and Conor Gormley both found the net to put them in control with their opponents down to 14 men after defender Niall Kerr was red carded.
Just before half time Coalisland were presented with an opportunity to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty, but Plunkett Kane's spot kick was excellently saved by Plunkett McCallan to leave it 2-4 to 0-3 at the break.
The introduction of Stephen McNally at the break sparked Coalisland into life and, amazingly, within a dozen minutes of the restart they were back on level terms courtesy of goals from Tiarnan O'Hagan and Gerard Toner. Paul McAleer and Toner swapped points and, as the game slipped into injury time, it looked set for a replay.
Carrickmore dug deep, though, and with Gormley in outstanding form at the heart of their defence they grabbed late points from Caolan Daly and Penrose to go through, Coalisland finishing with 13 men after McNally picked up a second yellow.
Errigal Ciaran and Dromore squared up to each other again on Saturday afternoon in their eagerly awaited replay at Carrickmore and it was the reigning champions who came through at the second time of asking in what was another cracking affair played before a crowd of over 3,000.
It was honours even at halftime, 0-5 apiece, with Ronan McRory and Sean McKenna supplying points for Errigal and Conor O'Neill and former County attacker Colm McCullagh on target for the St Dympnas.
Errigal Ciaran's scoring ability, though, won them the game as McRory and McGinley took their combined tally to seven with substitute Damian McDermott notching two crucial points.
A disappointing afternoon for Dromore ended when they had Eoin McCusker sent off late on.