Trillick turn on the scoring power in Tyrone SFC win over Strabane

Connor McAliskey could play a part as Clonoe take on Dromore on Sunday evening in a Tyrone SFC opener Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
By Francis Mooney

Vauxhall Donnelly Tyrone SFC first round

Strabane 0-6 Trillick 3-17

TRILLICK made a confident start to their bid to win a second Tyrone SFC win in three seasons, routing Strabane in Friday night’s first round tie at Healy Park.

Two goals from teenager James Garrity and a Rory Brennan strike capped a quality performance from the St Macartan’s, who never looked threatened.

Strabane packed their defence in an effort to frustrate their opponents, but Trillick’s patient approach was soon paying off.

Lee Brennan and Ryan Gray slotted over a couple of points each, with Garrrity and Daire Gallagher also on target.

Warner Mullan and Ruairi Gormley were on target as Strabane broke occasionally, but in the 21st minute, Mattie Donnelly sent teenager Garrity in for a clinical finish to the net. And they tagged on a few more scores to lead by 1-9 to 0-4 at the interval.

The 2015 champions tightened their grip on the game as the game progressed, with Lee Brennan adding to his tally, before setting up a goal for older brother Rory in the 43rd minute.

Daire Gallagher went through for a classy solo score, before Garrity completed the rout with a brilliant goal four minutes from time.


GALBALLY are targeting a major upset in the battle of the Blues at Edendork on Saturday (2pm) when they take on Coalisland.

The Fianna are among the favourites to win the O’Neill Cup this year, and will be expected to clear this initial hurdle with relative ease.

League form supports that. Coalisland have qualified for the Division One semi-finals, while Galbally endured a difficult season, eventually picking up the vital points that helped them avoid relegation to Division Two.

The Fianna have many survivors from the team that won the title back in 2010, and their experience is an important asset.

Manager John McKeever has his team playing positive, attacking football which brings accomplished finishers Paddy McNeice, Cathaoir Quinn and Brian Toner into the game.

Plunkett Kane, Padraig Hampsey, Michael McKernan and Niall Kerr are all formidable members of a well-drilled side which has strength-in-depth.

The Pearses go into the game with nothing to lose, but must prevent their opponents from getting off to a strong start.

Blaine Nugent, Daniel Kerr, Declan Murphy, Paul Rafferty and Sean Murphy are important figures in their game plan, but everything must go right for them on the day.

Later on Saturday, Killyclogher begin the defence of their title at Dunmoyle when they face reigning Ulster intermediate champions Pomeroy.

It’s a tricky opener for Dominic Corrigan’s men against a side that revelled in championship action last year.

The O’Neill Cup holders will go in as favourites to make a winning start, but they will be aware of the potential pitfalls they face against a Plunketts side keen to cause an upset.

Killyclogher Tyrone star Tiernan McCann has been ruled out by injury, but Conall McCann and Mark Bradley will lead the challenge, along with Danny Gorman, Feargal Meenagh, Emmet McFadden and Nathan Donnelly as they set out to retain their title.

Pomeroy have their own contingent of county players in the McGeary brothers – Kieran and Hugh Pat – and Frank Burns, who have played prominent roles in the re-emergence of the club and its return to senior football.

They held on to their Division One status during an encouraging league campaign, and the experience gained by the likes of Ryan Loughran, Brendan Burns and Sean Quinn will prepare them for this big championship clash.

It could be a busy evening for the Pomeroy defence, but Ciaran McKenna, Brendan Cunningham and others will willingly put their shoulder to the wheel in pursuit of the cause.

It’s difficult to see anything other than a Killyclogher win, and a high-profile quarter-final meeting with either Dromore or Clonoe, who meet in the tie of the round on Sunday evening (Carrickmore, 6pm).

One of Tyrone football’s major forces will make an early exit following this clash.

Both sides reached the semi-finals last season, when Clonoe lost to neighbours Coalisland and Dromore were beaten by eventual champions Killyclogher.

It’s certain to be a tense, tactical battle, and likely to be close right to the latter stages between two sides who have been major contenders for several seasons now.

Clonoe were champions in 2013, but it’s six years since Dromore last won the O’Neill Cup.

Both sides have the star quality that could swing it their way at a crucial juncture of the game.

Niall Sludden, Ronan McNabb, Eoin McCusker and Ruairi Sludden are capable of swinging it in Dromore’s favour, and their input will be crucial throughout.

There’s speculation that Connor McAliskey could be set to make his comeback after rupturing a cruciate ligament earlier this year, but Clonoe will look to Danny McNulty and PJ Lavery for the scores that could take them through to a quarter-final against either champions Killyclogher or Pomeroy.

Declan McClure and Collie Doris are other who could have a major influence for the O’Rahilly’s.

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