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Hampsey sets sights on club glory after All Ireland woe

 

By John Campbell

Padraig Hampsey collected the Man of the Match accolade in Tyrone's Ulster semi-final win over Down and their final victory over Monaghan but believes he faces one of the biggest challenges of his career to date as his Coalisland club prepare to meet Trillick in the quarter-final of the County Championship at Healy Park, Omagh tomorrow night (8.30pm).

The defender only earned his Championship spurs this year but within a matter of months has blossomed into one of the best defenders on the island.

And while still devastated by the manner in which the Red Hands succumbed to Dublin in the recent All-Ireland semi-final, Hampsey hopes to gain solace in the domestic competition which Coalisland last won in 2010.

"Since then, seven different sides have lifted the trophy, which shows you just how competitive the Tyrone Championship is," pointed out Hampsey.

Despite having only a handful of major inter-county fixtures under his belt, Hampsey can still prove an inspirational force in the Coalisland side against a Trillick outfit that boasts two sets of brothers who are part of the Tyrone set-up - Mattie and Richard Donnelly and Rory and Lee Brennan.

While Hampsey's short-term aspirations are centred on Coalisland's bid for glory, he remains optimistic that Tyrone can make up for their recent aberrations in the All-Ireland series next year.

"That defeat to Dublin in particular was a big learning curve for us all but I still think there is real hope for our team next year," stated Hampsey. "I feel the experience we gained this year will stand to us and I have no doubt that our spirit will also be a bonus when the chips are down.

"On reflection, it was a good thing for the players to come back and get straight into the Tyrone Championship matches as this did not allow us all too much time to dwell on the upset we experienced at Croke Park."

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