GAA Football

St Mary's looking for Kill-er instinct against Na Fianna

  Coalisland’s Plunkett Kane takes possession ahead of Killyclogher Fergal Meenagh during last Sunday’s drawn Tyrone SFC final in Omagh. Picture by Philip Walsh
Padraig Kelly

Donnelly Vauxhall Tyrone Senior Football Championship final replay: Na Fianna, Coalisland v St Mary’s, Killyclogher (tomorrow, Healy Park, 3.30pm)

WHEN keeping his counsel after last weekend’s drawn encounter between Killyclogher and Coalisland, St Mary’s manager Dominic Corrigan surmised that his side didn’t deserve to lose, but they didn’t deserve to win either.

Both sides would have trotted off the Healy Park pitch with feelings of both regret and relief coursing through them. Killyclogher’s relief came from the fact that they looked dead when Plunkett Kane kicked the Na Fianna ahead in injury time.

Nathan Donnelly’s late fisted point ensured they remained alive. Their regret came from the fact they had one last shot to win the game, but Conall McCann posted a wide to ensure a second outing was needed.

Coalisland’s relief came from the fact they were in the game despite being run ragged in the opening 15 minutes.

Some poor shooting from Corrigan’s side kept Coalisland within striking distance with the St Mary’s men racking up eight wides in the first half alone.

The regret was that they couldn’t close out the game despite having an extra man for 23 minutes following Gary Wallace’s dismissal.

Their manager John McKeever will have learned a lot from last week’s encounter. He will have noticed that when they didn’t press on the kick-outs in the first half, Sean Fox found a Killyclogher chest on nearly every occasion.

When they did push up in the second half, Fox was unable to set up as many attacks. McKeever will also have been reminded that his players have the ability to shoot from distance with captain Niall Kerr and Peter McGahan in particular notching eyecatching scores from well out the field.

Coalisland will be without Philip Toner after his horrific knee injury was diagnosed as significant cruciate damage, while Killyclogher have also been dealt a blow with the news that Niall McFadden’s early injury is also serious enough to put him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

McFadden had been one of the side’s key players en-route to the final, but Feargal Meenagh put in a real shift in his absence with Emmett McFadden, Stephen McNally and the busy Conall McCann also helping to stem the tide against Kane and Padraig Hampsey. Killyclogher will also be hopeful of getting more out of Mark Bradley in open play this time.

The diminutive forward has been exceptional all season but, apart from his usual accurate free-taking, he was restricted to a few moments of genius last weekend compared to the usual dominance he had enjoyed up until the final. Bradley still contributed half-adozen points though and seven other players managed to get on the scoresheet for Killyclogher.

Corrigan has access to a nice spread of scorers, which makes their inability to punish Coalisland when on top in the first quarter all the more bemusing. In both the quarter-final win over Trillick and the semi-final victory against Dromore they found their scoring touch early.

Last week’s slow scoring start seems to be more of a case of one of those things rather than any deep-rooted issue.

If Corrigan’s men can get their accuracy up early in the match, then they should be able to secure the title with a few points to spare

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