Northern Ireland news

Omagh traders celebrate bumper weekend despite Super 8s loss to Dubs

Tyrone and Dublin fans watch the clash between the old rivals in the Main Street area of Omagh
Marie Louise McConville

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OMAGH traders enjoyed an "amazing" boost courtesy of the 20,000 GAA fans who descended on the town for the Super 8s clash between Tyrone and Dublin.

Thousands of visitors from Dublin packed Omagh over the weekend, filling bars, restaurants, B&Bs and hotels.

And despite the All-Ireland champions emerging triumphant in Saturday night's big match, there was still plenty for businesses in the town to celebrate..

Mickey McElroy, owner of Main Street - which is home to bars, restaurants and retail units - said the weekend had been "absolutely great".

"It was amazing," he said.

"We are in the hospitality business here and we have accommodation and were were booked out for it.

"We are a pedestrianised street and we were just packed with supporters before the game. It was bringing the city to Omagh, bringing people to Omagh, which was great and the atmosphere was tremendous."

Omagh and Dublin fans watch the `Super 8' clash between the old rivals in the Main Street area of Omagh at the weekend

Mr McElroy congratulated the GAA for bringing the match out of Croke Park.

"They have done something right, they have brought the business to the town instead of taking it out of the county and it was absolutely great and I hope it continues."

Independent councillor Josephine Deehan also said the big match atmosphere had brought "an enormous boost for the town".

"All late afternoon and evening, the town centre was just buzzing and everyone was in good form and the weather was quite kind as well and everything passed off smoothly.

"We're looking forward to the next opportunity that we will have to welcome those crowds into Omagh and certainly, our traders and those from the hospitality industry will be more than ready to welcome all our guests."

Omagh and Dublin fans watch the `Super 8' clash between the old rivals in the Main Street area of Omagh at the weekend

Hilary Nelson, president of Omagh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said traders "all got a lift".

"Both the hospitality and retail sectors are all very positive," she said.

"We have been notifying our members and encouraging them to do special offers for the duration and that worked well. We could have trebled the rooms in terms of availability."

Tyrone was also praised by Dublin fans themselves for the welcome it offered its visitors.

Dublin fans descended on Omagh for the match

Supporters' group Hill 16 Army said: "I'd just like to say a huge thank you to the people of Tyrone for the fantastic welcome and hospitality they gave us Dublin supporters yesterday.

"Your team may have lost on the pitch but you certainly won an army of friends with the friendliness and class you displayed off it."

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