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GAA Football

Trillick through to meet Omagh in Tyrone semi-final

Trillick's Mattie Donnelly and Coalisland's Stephen McNally Picture by Jim Dunne
Francis Mooney

Donnelly Vauxhall Tyrone SFC quarter-final replay: Trillick 1-12 Coalisland 0-12

LEE Brennan’s 1-8 haul, including a stoppage-time penalty goal, helped Trillick set up a Tyrone semi-final clash with Omagh at Pomeroy on Saturday.

Brennan was on target three times in the opening 10 minutes as the Reds went ahead by 0-4 to 0-1, profiting from the midfield efforts of Richie Donnelly and Ryan Gray, along with Niall Donnelly’s penetrating runs from deep.

And they set up with tenacity in defence, turning back a series of Fianna raids, until Brian Toner spotted the gap to thread a pass to Paddy McNeice for his second score.

Teenager Gray thumped over a brilliant long-range score to restore the three-point gap, but Coalisland began to stretch their opponents along the flanks, and trimmed the deficit to a single point through Cormac O’Hagan and Dermot Thornton.

Mattie Donnelly began to break tackles as he made ground in the latter stages of the half, and Brennan’s fourth score came from a 45.

They could have had more, but for some excellent defending from Jason Carberry and Peter Heron, who denied Daire Gallagher to set their side back on the attack.

And full-back Michael McKernan pushed forward in support of the attack, setting up Toner’s point, which made it a one-point game at the break, Trillick ahead 0-6 to 0-5.

Padraig Hampsey charged through to equalise just 10 seconds after the restart, and straight from the kick-out Cormac O’Hagan shot Coalisland ahead for the first time

But Mattie Donnelly continued to make ground, winning the frees that Brennan clipped over with his lethal left boot, bringing the sides level for the third time.

Coalisland’s flourish was quickly wiped out as the St Macartan’s went back in front by two points, James Garrity opting for a point when a goal looked on.

Ruairi Kelly was a rock at full-back for Trillick as they turned back a handful of Fianna raids, and they were held scoreless for 15 minutes until Dermot Thornton slotted over a free.

As Trillick set about building on their lead, Michael McKernan began to get on top in his battle with Brennan, but wing-back Gavin McCarron got in for a point, before the Fianna rallied for Hampsey to narrow the gap to one.

The Donnelly brothers – Mattie and Richie – dug deep, along with Daniel McDonnell but it was Daire Gallagher who won the stoppage time penalty that Brennan fortuitously netted, the kick coming back off the crossbar and in off goalkeeper Johnny Curran.

Coalisland lost two men to straight red cards in stoppage-time as frustration ended the involvement of attacker Paddy McNeice and defender Shane Hughes.


Donnelly Vauxhall Tyrone SFC quarter-final replay: Clonoe v Pomeroy (Tuesday, Athletic Grounds, 8pm)

TYRONE GAA fans have another replay to look forward to this evening as a Donnelly Vauxhall SFC marathon goes on for a sixth consecutive day, writes Francis Mooney.

And they’re off to neighbouring Armagh for the second week in-a-row. Due to the unavailability of Healy Park, the meeting of Clonoe and Pomeroy has been switched to the Athletic Grounds.

Last week, the Armagh city venue hosted the first ever Tyrone championship match to be played outside the county, when Omagh met Ardboe, and the Orchard county has come to the rescue once again.

Postponements, re-fixtures and re-matches have led to a hectic schedule of ties, and a feast of thrilling action.

The Plunkett’s and the O’Rahilly’s will face off at 8pm to settle their quarter-final argument, after finishing level at 0-13 each at the weekend.

Pomeroy are already acclaimed as the giant-killers of the 2017 series, having celebrated their return to senior football with a first round win over county champions Killyclogher.

And they almost pulled off another major shock at Edendork on Saturday. They were within seconds of eliminating another major force, but Clonoe’s Danny McNulty kicked over a stoppage-time equaliser to earn his side a second chance.

The Plunkett’s have shown no fear of reputations during a championship run that has won them many new admirers.

The reigning Ulster intermediate champions have proven that they can match the best in the county, and they will attempt to do so again in their second meeting with the O’Rahilly’s.

A solid defence has been the foundation of their approach to date, but Clonoe could be boosted by the return of Tyrone attacker Connor McAliskey for his first start of the year.

He came in as a substitute in the last two games, and could be ready for a full 60 minutes of championship action following a lengthy lay-off with a cruciate injury.

The winners of tonight’s replay, which will go to extra-time if required, have just five days to recover and prepare for a semi-final clash with Errigal Ciaran on Sunday at Carrickmore. The other semi-final will be played at Pomeroy on Saturday, with the final scheduled for October 15.

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