Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Tyrone's thrilling Ulster title well worth waiting for

Pick your sporting moment of 2016

By Steven Beacom

Tyrone fans had waited for six years to see their team win the Ulster Championship. As manager Mickey Harte and his players left their dressing room minutes before the final started against Donegal, there was a sense amongst those representing the Red Hand county that the wait would go on no longer.

And that proved to be the case as Tyrone finally bridged the gap by winning a compelling decider to spark celebrations all over the county.

At one stage in the final, Donegal led by four points but Harte's men simply would not be denied.

Believing this was their day of destiny in the Ulster Championship, they mounted a stunning comeback to triumph 0-13 to 0-11 in Clones.

The finish to the match was astonishing.

Tyrone trailed by a point entering injury time. Up stepped captain Sean Cavanagh to level the scores and that was followed by the brilliant Peter Harte scoring to take the Red Hand men a point ahead.

The icing on the most sumptuous cake was supplied by Ciaran McGeary, sealing a victory that will be talked about for many a long day.

Captain Cavanagh, one of the heroes for Tyrone, was overjoyed to lift the Anglo-Celt Cup to roars of appreciation from his team's supporters.

It was the county's 14th Ulster Championship success, and one of their most memorable.

Cavanagh said: "It's a proud day to be a Tyrone man and it has been a long time coming.

"It's very emotional! I remember standing watching great players like Peter Canavan lifting this trophy and I think I took it for granted back then.

"We won't this time. We will enjoy this victory and savour it."

Manager Harte was also in euphoric mood.

He said: "It was a really competitive match and when we were behind it didn't look good for us but I knew our players had great qualities and they showed them all to win the final.

"We have not won the Ulster Championship in six years and you could see the hunger in our team to win it this time."

THE Belfast Telegraph want YOU, our readers, to decide what was Northern Ireland's greatest sporting moment of 2016.

Over the next two weeks we will be reflecting on the 10 shortlisted moments from this year.

You can vote for your favourite at www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport in the Sports Awards section.

Here are all your options:

  • Gareth McAuley's Euro 2016 NI goal v Ukraine
  • Carl Frampton beating Leo Santa Cruz
  • Jonathan Rea retaining his World Superbike title
  • Bethany Firth's golden world record
  • Jason Smyth's gold at Paralympics
  • Michael McKillop's gold at Paralympics
  • Rory Best leading Ireland to victory over New Zealand
  • Rory McIlroy winning FedEx Cup
  • Tyrone lifting the Ulster Championship
  • Alastair Seeley breaking Robert Dunlop's NW200 record

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