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Trillick must get off to flyer to have title chance: Donnelly

 

Big test: Mattie Donnelly is fired up for Trillick’s opener
Big test: Mattie Donnelly is fired up for Trillick’s opener
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Tyrone skipper Mattie Donnelly has cause to be satisfied with his team's storming finish to Division One of the Allianz League, beating Dublin and Galway, but tomorrow he will set his sights on another goal when Trillick meet Tattyreagh in the opening round of senior club fixtures.

Just as is the case in the inter-county sphere, clubs can no longer afford to "feel their way", as Donnelly puts it, in the domestic competition.

"Tyrone club football is so intense that you have to battle hard and in the process you can pick up knocks," points out Donnelly. "But that's the way it is. There are about seven weeks until we meet Derry in the Ulster Championship but there is a lot of club football to be played between now and then. We have to hit the ground running, we can't just feel our way."

Tattyreagh won the county intermediate championship title last year and could have asked for a rather easier baptism in the senior league than a match-up with a Trillick side that is laden with experienced players with Donnelly very much to the fore.

Nor is this the only enticing match in Division One.

Title-holders Errigal Ciaran will take what they hope will be a successful first step in the defence of their crown when they meet great rivals Carrickmore while Omagh St Enda's will take on Donaghmore in another big showdown.

Across the Blackwater Bridge in Armagh, Shane McConville, who guided Maghery to the senior county championship title in 2016, will now be at the helm of a Pearse Og side that will open their league campaign against Annaghmore.

McConville revitalised the Maghery club but subsequently opted to take up the challenge of trying to bring success to city club Pearse Og who last won the county title in 2009.

"There is a lot of talent within the club but the league will let us know where we are before the championship comes along," says former county star McConville.

Crossmaglen Rangers will meet Killeavy while there will be a battle of the Harps when Silverbridge meet their namesake club from Armagh city. And the St Patrick's v Ballymacnab tie should provide fireworks, too.

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