Champions Coalisland face tough defence opener against Ardboe
TYRONE champions Coalisland have been handed a tough first defence of their title, after being drawn to face Ardboe in this year's first round.
The draw threw up a number of attractive ties, the pick of them the local derby clash of Dromore and Trillick.
The Tyrone Championship is renowned as the most competitive in Ulster, with as many as eight clubs regarded as potential title winners in any given season. In fact, seven different clubs have lifted the O'Neill Cup in the past nine seasons.
“It's a tough draw, but you're only going to get tough draws in the Tyrone Championship,” said Coalisland captain Stephen McNally.
“There's a different team nearly every year that goes on and wins it, so Tyrone is definitely the toughest of them all.
“You need that wee rub of the green and you need a fully fit squad with no injuries, and you need to be well focused and believe that you can go on and win it.”
Ardboe were beaten semi-finalists last year, and McNally sees the Rossas as a team on the way back to their glory days of old.
“Last year when Ardboe played Clonoe in Coalisland, I was very impressed with the way they set up. They're young and very strong, and they have two or three county players at the minute. it will be a tough task to beat them
“In the league games that we have played, it has always been tough and hard-hitting, that sort of spirit that you want in football.
“It's not going to be easy, as champions, you're going to have a target on your back.
“We have a lot of strength in depth, and we have a lot of younger players coming through. Hopefully the can push on and get the experience through the league campaign and earn a spot on the team.”
Tattyreagh, who will play senior football for the first time in the club's history in 2019, after winning successive promotions, were drawn against Edendork, a beaten semi-finalist last season.
The beaten finalists of 2018, Killyclogher, will take on Donaghmore.
LCC Tyrone SFC: Carrickmore v Derrylaughan, Killyclogher v Donaghmore, Eglish v Errigal Ciaran, Trillick v Dromore, Tattyreagh v Edendork, Dungannon v Omagh, Moy v Clonoe
Ardboe v Coalisland; Quarter-finals: Trillick or Dromore v Moy or Clonoe, Killyclogher or Donaghmore v Ardboe or Coalisland, Tattyreagh or Edendork v Carrickmore or Derrylaughan, Dungannon or Omagh vEglish or Errigal Ciaran
LCC Tyrone IFC: Cookstown v Urney, Beragh v Loughmacrory, Moortown v Gortin, Clogher v Greencastle, Aghyaran v Augher, Newtownstewart v Pomeroy, Galbally v Strabane
Owen Roes v Stewartstown; Quarter-finals: Clogher or Greencastle v Moortown or Gortin, Galbally or Strabane v Aghyaran or Augher, Newtownstewart or Pomeroy v Beragh or Loughmacrory, Owen Roes or Stewartstown v Cookstown or Urney
LCC Tyrone JFC: Preliminary round: Drumquin v Aghaloo; First round: Brocagh v Fintona, Derrytresk v Kildress, Rock v Drumquin/Aghaloo, Killeeshil v Castlederg, Glenelly v Clann na nGael, Dregish v Eskra, Brackaville v Errigal Ciaran III, Drumragh v Killyman; Quarter-finals: Killeeshil or Castlederg v Brocagh or FintonaDregish or Eskra v Brackaville v Errigal Ciaran III, Drumragh or Killyman v Derrytresk or Kildress, Glenelly or Clann na nGael v Rock or Prelim Winners