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Connor McAliskey suffers broken ankle as Clonoe exit Tyrone SFC to Ardboe

Tyrone and Clonoe forward Connor McAliskey is helped onto a stretcher by medical staff after suffering a broken ankle in his club’s Tyrone SFC first round defeat to Ardboe in Coalisland. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Francis Mooney in Coalisland

LCC Tyrone Senior Football Championship round one: Clonoe 1-11 Ardboe 2-9

TYRONE attacker Connor McAliskey suffered a serious injury in last night’s LCC Tyrone Senior Championship tie at Coalisland.

A broken ankle is the latest setback for the Clonoe attacker, who missed last season with a ruptured cruciate.

His fancied side bowed out of the O’Neill Cup race at the first hurdle in a narrow defeat by a highly motivated Ardboe side.

A mix of passion and self-belief helped the Rossas to a derby triumph and a quarter-final shot at Trillick, and their margin could have been greater but for a string of fine saves from Mickey O’Neill.

A big crowd at Fr Peter Campbell Park witnessed a fiercely competitive encounter which was decided by Shay McGuigan’s late goal.

Ardboe were clearly up for this one right from the off, with centre-back Michael Cassidy pressing forward to shoot their opening point, with Shay McGuigan adding a couple from frees as they moved into a 0-3 to 0-1 by the ninth minute.

But danger always lurked at the back, and PJ Lavery was sent through on goal by Dwayne Quinn, only to be denied by a fine Ronan Cassidy save.

And the O’Rahilly’s missed another chance, created by Connor McAliskey for Shane McCourt, but once again Cassidy was down smartly to smother the shot.

McAliskey, for the second time, drilled the ’45 cleanly between the posts, and soon afterwards they needed a save from their own goalkeeper Mickey O’Neill to deny Michael Lynn.

O’Neill came to the rescue again with a flying save with his boot as Eugene Og Teague rifled in a shot, and the O’Rahilly’s broke at pace to take the lead for the first time through Declan McClure.

McAliskey followed up with a superb score from wide on the left, with Collie Doris making it a two-point game.

Ardboe lacked the creativity of their opponents, and having scored just once from play in the first half, went in at the break trailing by 0-7 to 0-5, after McGuigan had converted his third free.

But the Rossas displayed greater penetration in the early stages of the second half, Peter O’Neill and Michael Lynn both on target.

And in the 39th minute midfielder Michael O’Neill smashed the ball to the roof of the net for a superb goal after Shay McGuigan had made a scything run through the middle.

Their confidence was rising, and with defenders Conall Devlin and Simon Teague throwing themselves fearlessly into every challenge, they had the measure of the O’Rahilly attack.

Coney and McGuigan added further scores from frees, and going into the final quarter, they led by three.

Clonoe’s problems worsened when McAliskey was stretchered off with a leg injury, but his replacement Fintan McClure fired home an equalising goal with his first touch.

With Coney now stationed at midfield, and spraying passes left and right, Ardboe pressed strongly, but their finishing let them down.

That was until Michael Lynn sent in a long ball that Shay McGuigan flicked to the net in the 59th minute.

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