Tyrone SFC: Dromore look to keep Ardboe at bay

Francis Mooney

Donnelly Vauxhall Tyrone SFC

Dromore have had the measure of Ardboe in championship football in recent seasons, and the formbook points to another win in tomorrow’s Donnelly Vauxhall Tyrone SFC quarter-final at Plunkett Park (4.15pm).

The St Dympna’s justified their ranking as title favourites with a big 19-point win over Strabane in the first round, while Ardboe’s nine-point defeat of Edendork will have given them a belief that they can take out one of the big guns.

When the sides met in the 2009 final, Dromore snatched a dramatic victory with a late Colm McCullagh penalty, and they followed up with a comfortable success in the 2012 quarter-final.

The men from Gardrum Park haven’t won the O’Neill Cup since 2011, but this year they appear to be primed for a major challenge, with Niall Sludden, Emmet O’Neill, Ruairi Sludden and Ronan McNabb jnr in flying form.

An experienced defence featuring Cathal McCarron, Ronan McNabb and Ryan McMenamin will make life difficult for Kyle Coney, Shay McGuigan and David Mulgrew.

Ardboe will need big performances from Michael Cassidy, Michael O’Neill and Gavin Teague if they are to cause an upset.

But they do have some valuable insider insights to draw on, as their manager Paul Rouse was part of the Dromore management team last year.

Also on tomorrow’s double bill at Pomeroy, holders Trillick face Killyclogher in a repeat of last year’s final at 5.45pm.

Lee Brennan scored the winning point to give the newly promoted Reds a first SFC title in 29 years in a gripping decider last October, and he was at it again a week ago, when he hit 1-8 in the big first round win over Eglish.

Trillick appear to be in the mood for a strong defence of their title, having eclipsed Eglish by 3-18 to 0-11.

They have additional firepower in Daire Gallagher and Niall Gormley, while the Donnelly brothers, Mattie and Richie, and Rory Brennan, are among the county’s top players.

Killyclogher hope to have defender Dermot Carlin back on board, after he missed the 2-16 to 0-11 win over Errigal Ciaran due to injury.

They have a solid defence in which Danny Gorman, Martin Swift and Gary Wallace play important roles, while Tiernan McCann will use his searing pace to push forward at every opportunity.

Mark Bradley and Conall McCann shared a ten points tally last time out, while Simon O’Neill came off the bench to hit 1-3, sending out a warning to the O’Neill Cup holders that they mean business.

Earlier in the day, Omagh and Clonoe meet again in a first round replay at O’Neill Park in Dungannon (2.15pm).

Omagh will be hoping to make sure at the second attempt, having conceded three stoppage time scores in last weekend’s drawn game.

Last night’s quarter-final between Coalisiland and Kildress was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Healy Park in Omagh.


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