Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA

McAnulla urges St Enda's to find their clinical best

By John Campbell

Some 13 years have elapsed since a Tyrone side last won the Ulster club football championship.

Errigal Ciaran reigned supreme in the province in 2002 but since then successive teams from the Red Hand County have tried and failed to mount the Ulster throne.

Last year, Omagh St Enda's came tantalisingly close to ending the title famine when they were just pipped by Slaughtneil in a pulsating decider.

And it's that defeat which is providing St Enda's with the incentive not only to try and retain their Tyrone crown this year, but to go on and perhaps make a bigger impact in the provincial series.

Tomorrow, St Enda's will meet old rivals Dromore in what promises to be a throbbing quarter-final contest that could prove defining in terms of just where the title might ultimately go.

Mickey Harte, still in something of a sporting limbo as the Tyrone county board's verdict on the senior team management for 2016 is awaited, is expected to be in the crowd at Healy Park.

The Omagh team will include six current Tyrone players - the McMahon brothers Justin and Joseph, Conor Meyler, Conor Clarke, Ronan O'Neill and Barry Tierney.

Yet it's a player who has represented the county in the past but who is not currently figuring in the Red Hands line-up that is proving the ace in their pack as they target championship glory.

Jason McAnulla has found his services as a physiotherapist more in demand at county level than his footballing skills but his value to St Enda's is immense.

Not only is his scoring ability pronounced but his skills as a playmaker are proving central to the team's strategy.

"We beat Carrickmore in our last match but we shot a number of wides in that game," recalled McAnulla.

"We will have to be more accurate if we are to get the better of Dromore because they are a very good side."

Dromore's battery of senior citizens, headed by Ryan McMenamin, Colm McCullough and Cathal McCarron, can help fire up their more youthful brigade but the loss of Ronan McNabb with a knee injury is a major blow.

McMenamin, holder of three All-Ireland medals as a tenacious defender with Tyrone, admits that McNabb's absence will be felt.

"Ronan was outstanding for Tyrone this year and now we will be missing his services at what is the most important time of the year for our club," he stated.

Also tonight, Donaghmore and Coalisland cross swords in one of the other quarter-finals.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph