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GAA Football

How many of the Omagh St Enda's team make it in to The Irish News Tyrone Club Allstars selection?

Joe McMahon and his Omagh St Enda's team-mates celebrate after defeating Errigal Ciaran in the 2017 Tyrone Senior Club Championship final Healy Park, Omagh
Francis Mooney

Omagh St Enda's were crowned Tyrone club champions in 2017. How many of the team make it in to The Irish News Tyrone Club Allstars selection? Here's how Francis Mooney sees it ..

1: Niall McGinn (Omagh)

Omagh’s last line of defence played a key role in a triumphant championship campaign which ended with the club’s ninth O’Neill Cup success.

He made a number of important saves, including a brilliant stop from Ronan McRory in the early stages of the final.

Safe under the high ball as well with safe hands, his kick-outs and general distribution have been instrumental in turning defence to attack.

McGinn was also a positive influence in his organisation of a defensive unit that formed the bedrock of the club’s successful O’Neill Cup challenge.

2: Niall Kelly (Errigal Ciaran)

One of the defensive stars of Errigal’s run to a first county final since 2012, Kelly displayed experience beyond his years, along with consistency of performance with a string of excellent displays.

Astute in his reading of the game, he also developed as a trusted man-marker, snuffing out the threat of a number of dangerous attackers.

Full of running and energy, his use of possession helped his side launch countless counter-attacks, and he also showed an appetite for attack himself, getting forward to grab a crucial late goal to finally end Pomeroy’s giant-killing run in the semi-final.

3: Hugh Pat McGeary (Pomeroy)

An inspirational captain, McGeary led his side on an unforgettable journey this season as the newly promoted Plunketts went on a spectacular giant-killing run, dumping out reigning champions Killyclogher before eliminating Clonoe.

Defensive steel and an infectious enthusiasm from the Tyrone defender were key factors in the club’s fairy-tale championship run as they reached the semi-final, pushing Errigal Ciaran all the way.

Always ferociously competitive and brimming with courage and confidence, he typified the spirit of a club on the rise.

4: Brendan Burns (Pomeroy)

The importance of their stoic defender to Pomeroy’s never-to-be-forgotten championship run in the summer of 2017 cannot be under-stated.

Burns played a central role in every sense, taking responsibility, organising those around him and taking on the job of shadowing some of the game’s top attackers in every game.

He never fell short in terms of effort, effectiveness and contribution to the cause, complementing his defensive duties with a measured willingness to get forward whenever possible, setting up and executing some important scores.

5: Mark Kavanagh (Errigal Ciaran)

Kavanagh made the transition from attack to defence with impressive ease this season, establishing himself as one of the finest wing backs in the county.

His natural footballing brain helped him adapt to his new role, in which he improved with every game.

The 22-year-old’s attacking instincts continued to influence his approach to the game, and he took every opportunity to get forward, setting up scores for colleagues and picking off five points himself on the way to the showpiece decider.

6: Joe McMahon (Omagh)

A colossus at the heart of the St Enda’s defence throughout the season, McMahon led by example as inspirational captain.

He combined organisational skills with a natural footballing brain and immense levels of ball-playing ability.

The former Tyrone star’s return from injury was a huge boost for the St Enda’s, and he turned in a string of consistent displays at centre back.

He also contributed important scores, 0-5 in total, including the winner against Trillick and a crucial second half point in the final.

7: Barry Tierney (Omagh)

The dynamic wing back has been a model of consistency for several seasons, and rose to the challenge in magnificent fashion again this year.

Defending with vigour and tenacity, he proved a difficult opponent for many attackers, giving little away in terms of pace and ball-winning, and always keen in the tackle.

But Tierney’s greatest strength is his ability to raid forward in support of the attack, creating and executing scores, including a brilliant individual goal in the quarter-final win over Greencastle. Contributed 1-2 in total over the campaign.

8: Conor Clarke (Omagh)

One of the most popular winners of a championship medal this season after missing out on the 2014 triumph through injury.

Clarke has overcome a series of injury setbacks to return to top form, and throughout the 2017 championship he has been a highly effective midfield anchor.

Plays the game in an uncomplicated way, invariably taking the sensible option as he complimented his considerable aerial ability with effective off-loads.

Also highly effective in the tackle and the battle for broken possession around midfield as he consistently made valuable contributions.

9: Frank Burns (Pomeroy)

Burns typified the fearless spirit of a Pomeroy team that took this year’s championship by storm.

A fiercely competitive character, his energy around midfield was a striking feature of his side’s approach as they took on established powers with a refreshing confidence.

The 21-year-old exuded a can-do attitude which rubbed off on all members of the newly promoted Plunketts side which created a sensation by reaching a semi-final. He was a key contributor of scores as well, finishing the campaign with a 0-13 tally.

10: Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)

Harte’s leadership has been central to Errigal’s run to a first championship final since 2012.

The Tyrone star has used his experience to help his side through some difficult ties, winning possession around the central area and bringing team-mates into the action with accurate passes and assists.

His place-kicking expertise is another priceless asset, providing vital scores in tight games, particular from difficult distances and angles.

Always able to step up in challenging situations and guide his side through difficult spells as the Dunmoyle men came out the right side of challenging games against Carrickmore and Pomeroy.

11: Conan Grugan (Omagh)

The sharp end of Omagh’s central diamond, Grugan is the epitome of the traditional leader of attack.

The strong-running centre forward has many more elements to his game, however, tracking back to help the defence and augmenting the midfield with his physical presence and excellence in the air.

His directness is perhaps his greatest asset, however, and he contributed 1-13 from frees and play during the campaign, playing a crucial role in making the St Enda’s attack tick on the way to the club’s ninth championship title.

12: Peter Og McCartan (Errigal Ciaran)

He has yet to start a championship game, but the teenager has been one of his side’s most valuable players this season, coming in as a highly effective impact sub in all four games.

His courage and energy have been features of the Errigal approach in the resurgent 2017 season, and in each game he took the game to opponents with his strong running and tenacious foraging for possession.

McCartan, who played minor football this season, was one of the most effective figures as Errigal pressed, ultimately unsuccessfully, in the final quarter of the SFC final against Omagh.

13: Lee Brennan (Trillick)

Brennan finished as the championship’s top scorer for the second time in three seasons with a 1-25 haul. The title was virtually assured even before a ball was kicked in the final, with his nearest challenger finishing 11 points adrift.

Once again this year he was in prolific form, further enhancing his reputation as one of the game’s top attackers, with some brilliant scores, off either foot, from frees and from play.

Unfortunately for the 2015 champions, Brennan’s scoring exploits were not enough, as they made their exit at the semi-final stage, losing by a single point to eventual champions Omagh.

14: Connor O’Donnell (Omagh)

The experienced attacker has enjoyed his best season in the St Enda’s colours this year. He carried outstanding league form into the championship, where he laid on a string of brilliant performances, capping his dash and elusiveness with clinical finishing.

Adept at winning his own ball, he has tormented many defenders, not only contributing valuable scores but unselfishness creating opportunities for team-mates.

He was Omagh’s leading scorer with 0-17, and the highlight of his season was a spectacular seven points haul, five from play, in the victory over Ardboe, just days after the death of his father, club stalwart Charlie.

15: Conor Meyler (Omagh)

The Tyrone star has been the beating heart of the St Enda’s side throughout the championship.

Wearing number 15, but operating in a deep-lying role, reading the game, sweeping and launching attacks with clever use of possession, his excellence has shone consistently.

Meyler has also been handed man-marking briefs on key opponents, which he has carried out flawlessly while continuing to provide a threat going forward, thanks to his athleticism and the perception with which he the interprets the game.

ends

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