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Omagh's title but they face tough battle to All Ireland

By Ronnie Ingram

Omagh have qualified to be Ulster's representatives for the All Ireland League Round-Robin but face a difficult task to return to the League from which they were relegated 17 seasons ago. It was 1997/98 that the Tyrone side won promotion but their stay only lasted three seasons.

Their 18-6 win over Carrickfergus on Saturday means they finished Kukri Division 1 with 69 points, one better than Instonians who they defeated twice by one point.

Both teams qualify for the Irish Junior Cup along with third placed Ballyclare but the fourth place is still to be decided.

Enniskillen have a four point advantage over Portadown so the Co. Armagh team will need a bonus point win at Carrickfergus for that final place. Should the rivals finish level on league points then Enniskillen will qualify as they defeated Portadown twice, 25-11 and 31-13.

Omagh, in their quest for glory, do have one advantage in their favour in that two of their games, against the Leinster and Munster champions, will be at home but on successive Saturdays. Then there is the Easter gap before the trip to Ballina.

On April 1 they face either Enniscorthy or Malahide who are deciding the Leinster title. Malahide have only lost once and travel to the Wexford team who require a try bonus point victory to clinch the title.

The task against Munster's Clonmel will be equally difficult as they are undefeated in their league and are well drilled outfit coached by the 57 capped Irish international Denis Leamy.

Carrickfergus led twice but Omagh dominated the final quarter. The teams were level 3-3 at the interval before the visitors' Luke Whittaker added his second penalty.

Lee Murphy had earlier kicked Omagh's first before No 8 James Catterson was involved four times before he crashed over for their first try score.

Attacking full-back Alastair Beckett touched down on the left and 20 year old Scott Barr who has progressed from the thirds and is a prolific try scorer showed his skills for the third.

Belfast Telegraph

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