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Clonoe's Damian Cassidy hits out at board

Carrickmore 0 - 12 Clonoe 3 - 8

By Declan Bogue

Clonoe prised Carrickmore fingers off the O'Neill Cup with three goals that came like body shots to the solar plexus and brought the canister back to the east of the county.

However, with the preliminary round of the Ulster club championship and a date with Ballinderry only seven days away though, manager Damian Cassidy was unimpressed with the Tyrone county board's scheduling of the championship.

"I am not going to beat about the bush," he said.

"I am extremely disappointed with the Tyrone County Board to put us in a position where we have to go out next week ...

"Dromore faced this two years ago, we faced it when we won it in 2008 where we had to walk out six or seven days later. We won this Championship in 2008 and it was the first time this club had won in 19 years and for the Tyrone Board to expect us to go out and represent the county to the best of our ability at that particular time and to expect us to do the same this time, it is grossly, grossly unfair. I am not hiding behind words. I am disgusted."

The notion of having a party was a popular one among the black and white clad hordes on the Healy Park pitch afterwards.

Up in the stand, full-forward Daniel McNulty grabbed a loose microphone. "All back for the rip!" he urged the cheering fans.

Cassidy (pictured) explained their dilemma on whether to toast the cup with lemonade or something a bit stronger.

"I always say to the boys we work hard, but we celebrate our wins. Now, what's the point in working your socks off, giving the sacrifices you do and then achieving those goals that are set out for you if you can't enjoy it and you are out on the treadmill again," he said.

"I am not going to stop that celebration because you live for those opportunities.

"Ballinderry have a massive advantage over us. The Tyrone clubs generally over the past while have not done as well as they should have, that's not because they are not good enough, it's because they have not been given the bloody chance.

"The Tyrone county board have to take a long hard look at themselves and I don't care at this moment in time how they take it but that's the truth and actual facts."

But before all that there was a brilliant game of football.

Clonoe made early running mainly through the threat of Connor McAliskey, whose four points earned him the trophy for top-scorer in the championship. He created a goal for Paul Doris to open up a four-point gap by the 12th minute but a Carrickmore revival, inspired by Plunkett McCallan's penalty save from Colm Doris and maintained by the playmaking of Conor Gormley and the workrate of Martin Penrose, had Carmen level by half-time.

A Daniel McNulty goal handed the impetus back to Clonoe at the very start of the second half and the third arrived paradoxically when referee Martin Sludden had to do a hop ball when the football struck him during a Clonoe attack.

A Colm Doris fist met McNulty who dished off to the raiding PJ Lavery to rattle the net.

From then on, Carrickmore's stout challenge evaporated. At the final whistle, Cassidy entered the pitch by way of the managerial celebratory knee-slide, in sheer relief.

The party would go ahead in Clonoe last night, although the scheduling of this championship might yet leave a bitter aftertaste.

Carrickmore: P McCallan; R Mullan, C McGurk, C Mullan; M Donaghey (0-1), C Gormley [Capt], R Loughran (0-1); J Rafferty, N Loughran (0-1); M McCallan (0-2), M Donnelly (0-1, 1f), M Gallagher (0-1); P McAleer (0-2), M Penrose (0-3, 2f), B Daly

Subs: R McNally for Rafferty [45m], E Hughes for Daly [48m], M Slane for R Mullan [55m], A Kelly for M McCallan [60m]

Clonoe: M O'Neill; D Quinn, A Brady, C O'Neill; S Hughes, S McCann, PJ Lavery (1-0); S McNulty [Capt] (0-3, 3f), S O'Hagan; R T O'Neill, C Doris (0-1), P Doris; P Coney (1-0), D McNulty (1-0), C McAliskey (0-4, 1f)

Subs: G Coney for McCann [41m], D McClure for Coney [45m], R R O'Neill for McClure [58m]

Referee: Martin Sludden [Dromore]

Attendance: 7,070.

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