Carrickmore 0-07 Coalisland 0-09: Coalisland are back at the top of Tyrone club football after winning their first senior championship in 20 years at the expense of Carrickmore at Healy Park, Omagh yesterday afternoon.
Damian O’Hagan was captain the last time that they won the championship — this time round he has guided them to glory in his first season as manager and he couldn’t hide his delight.
“This win means so much to the Coalisland club and people,” said O’Hagan.
“It has been a long 20 years, but the wait has been worthwhile and these players deserve all the credit in the world as they have given everything at training since early January and they got their reward there today.”
It wasn’t the best county final that you will see, but neither side could be faulted for their commitment and endeavour and while they may have been underdogs going into the game the Fianna deserved their triumph which was built on a superb half back line of Steven McNally, Niall Kerr and Paddy O’Farrell.
They were the better side from start to finish and they began brightly with points from Paddy McNeice and Brian Toner.
It took Carrickmore all of 20 minutes to get onto the scoreboard courtesy of their captain Kevin McNally and after Finbar Magill and McNeice had traded points it was Coalisland who held a 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the end of what was a low scoring opening period.
It was more of the same after the break with both defences very much on top.
Three minutes into the second-half a McNally free levelled matters for Carrickmore, but that was as good as it got for the record O’Neill Cup winners.
Toner and McNeice converted further Coalisland frees before midfielder Philip Toner hit a beauty of a point from play out on the left wing.
That edged Coalisland 0-8 to 0-5 in front but the way Carrickmore play it wasn’t a substantial gap as they always finish games strongly.
Championship top scorer McNally knocked over another free, but that score was soon cancelled out by Coalisland’s final score of the game via Toner.
County defender Conor Gormley tried his best to inspire Carrickmore and they did close the gap with another point from Magill, but Coalisland held on to take their first title since 1990 and send them through an Ulster club quarter-final date with Fermanagh champions Roslea at the same venue next Sunday.
Carrickmore: P McCallan, P Daly, C McGurk, B McLaughlin, P Hughes, C McAleer, P Cunningham, C Gormley, N Loughran, C Daly, B Daly [0-2], P McMahon, K McNally [0-3], M Donnelly, F Magill [0-2]. Subs –G McCallan for McMahon, M McCallan for P Hughes
Coalisland: J Curran, L O’Neill, P Donnelly, L Wylie, S McNally, N Kerr, P O’Farrell, P McGahan, P Toner [0-1], P Kane [0-1], B Toner [0-3], S Curran, P McNeice [0-4], T O’Hagan, G Toner. Subs - M Early for Kane, D Thornton for O’Hagan, C Bayne for G Toner
Referee: E McHugh (Aghyaran).