GAA Football

Tyrone SFC: Trillick surrender crown in defeat to Killyclogher

Trillick's Rory Brennan is tackled by Killyclogher's Tiernán McCann 
 
Francis Mooney

TYRONE champions Trillick gave up their crown in a repeat of last year’s final, going down by four points to Killyclogher at Pomeroy. The O’Neill Cup holders could well have suffered a heavier defeat, had their opponents been more ruthless in their approach and more clinical in their finishing.

Feargal Meenagh and Emmet McFadden hit the first half goals that set the St Mary’s on their way to revenge for the heartbreak inflicted on them in 2015. Trillick scored just one point from play, and that from a defender, in the entire game, and relied heavily on the place-kicking expertise of Lee Brennan, who converted six frees and netted a late penalty.

Killyclogher got off to the perfect start, Conall McCann sending midfielder Meenagh in to smash a shot to the roof of the net inside the opening minute. McCann was again the provider for McFadden to rifle home a second, and they were ahead by 2-2 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter.

Brennan and Daire Gallagher were on target from frees, but they struggled to make any clear-cut chances against a defence that had McFadden operating as a sweeper and Martin Swift, Danny Gorman and Gabhan Sludden performing soundly.

Mark Bradley’s accuracy from placed balls was another key factor for a Killyclogher side that took a 2-6 to 0-4 lead into the interval. They had their destiny in their own hands, but sat back and invited Trillick to come back at them.

Brennan hit some wonderful frees in spite of a difficult crossfield breeze, but they drew a blank in their efforts to score from open play, until wing-back Daniel McDonnell pushed forward to pick off a 46th minute point.

Killyclogher went 24 minutes without a score until substitute Simon O’Neill squeezed over a point from a tight angle, after the Reds had cut the deficit back to four points. Trillick were awarded a penalty in the 60th minute, which Brennan fired home, but they were unable to muster the big finish they needed to save their title.

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