Dominic Corrigan is confirmed as Killyclogher manager for 2017
DOMINIC CORRIGAN has been confirmed as Killyclogher's manager for a second season heading in 2017.
The former Sligo and Fermanagh boss will attempt to put Tyrone Championship titles back-to-back for the first time in the club's history, having led them to a first O'Neill Cup title in 13 years.
St Mary's will be boosted by the return of key players, including former Tyrone defender Dermot Carlin, who missed most of this season through injury. But Corrigan accepts that it will be extremely difficult to retain the O'Neill Cup in a notoriously competitive county that has seen seven different clubs win the senior championship in the past seven seasons.
The Tyrone champions missed out on the league and championship double at the weekend, losing heavily to Dromore in the final: "The championship is what every team is after, and it was hard to win it this year, and it will probably be even harder next year. But we'll worry about that when the time, comes," said Corrigan.
"We have had a lot of boys who were out injured this year who are going to be back next year. Next year is a new year, and we would be hoping to be stronger."
Dromore coasted to a massive 13-point victory, hitting three goals in the process as they secured their seventh league title in a 3-13 to 0-10 win at Loughmacrory.
A feisty decider which saw three red cards was only going to have one winner once Ciaran McCoy slotted home their first goal early in the opening half. Dromore were by far the hungrier of the sides as they swept to as seventh league title with further strikes from Sean McNabb and Andrew McGrath.
"On the day they were the better side, so we'll not make any excuses," Corrigan conceded.
"We were obviously delighted to get the main prize this year, and we came here today hoping to pick up the runners-up prize as well. But it was not to be, we accept that, but we look back on the year with great prize. We didn't do enough on the day to earn the right to win it. We have to accept that."
Dromore, looking for their first major title in five years, produced a passionate performance, and made a solid start while playing into the wind. They struck a crucial blow inside the opening ten minutes when Ciaran McCoy capitalised on a poor kick-out to drill home the first of their three goals.
"It was a difficult opening 20 minutes. We found it very difficult to win a free in that opening 20 minutes. They pushed on and the goals then killed the game," said the Killyclogher boss.
It has been a long and demanding season for Killyclogher, and despite the loss of some key players, they emerged from a tough championship series triumphant, beating Coalisland easily, but only after a replay.
While they went on to reach the Ulster Club Championship semi-final, that Healy Park triumph will remain the abiding memory for Corrigan and his men. He feels the players will not be unduly perturbed by their failure to win a second league title in three seasons.
"We'll not get overly excited at losing this, we have got the main prize, and good luck to them, they deserved it," he said.