Killyclogher captain Emmet McFadden aiming to sweep aside Coalisland challenge
Killyclogher captain Emmet McFadden wears the number 15 on his back, but you won’t see him taking on defenders and knocking over scores in Sunday’s LCC Tyrone SFC final against Coalisland.
McFadden is the embodiment of the modern game, a player with the footballing brain to master the sweeper brief and keep things tight and organised at the back.
The 28-year-old has perfected the role through several seasons of sacrificing his own game and working selflessly for the greater good of the team.
But he’s hoping he will get to savour his moment of individual glory by climbing the steps of the Healy Park stand to take delivery of the O’Neill Cup this weekend.
“I do my job the same as anyone else, and my role is not as a scorer,” he said.
“Of course you get forward an odd time, but trying to keep the scores to a minimum for the other team is my job. I’ll just take it for the team.”
Both finalists have come through tight games on their way to this weekend’s title decider, with Killyclogher dragging themselves back from the brink to deny Ardboe and win their semi-final in extra-time.
“We showed a lot of character in the last few minutes of that game. We had full belief in ourselves, and we knew we were never beaten until the final whistle went.
“We were creating a few chances but the ball wasn’t really sticking at times when we were going through.
“There were a few mistakes, but we always knew we were going to get the chance, and thank God we took it.”
Three points down in stoppage time with ace finisher Mark Bradley injured and off the pitch, they had to look elsewhere for vital scores, and it was Conall McCann who rescued them with a dramatic goal.
“There’s no man bigger than the team here, and that’s always been the way. Mark has carried us with his talent, and it’s great to have him here, but every player makes his own contribution which is very important. We have all dug in and got over the line.”
This weekend’s title decider is a repeat of the 2016 final, which went to a replay. At the second attempt, Killyclogher made no mistake as they coasted to a14 points win, but McFadden rejects the notion tat their dominance on that occasion will be a source of comfort this weekend.
“I wouldn’t say that. They put it up to us in the drawn game. It was a savage battle, and we have had a good few league games with them in the last few years, and they have always been great battles, so I don’t expect anything different on Sunday.”
The men from Ballinamullan had suffered their own heartbreak back in 2015, when they lost the championship final to
Trillick, but channelled the hurt in a positive direction, using it as a motivating tool to come back and win the title a year later.
“In 2015, when we lost it, people talk about hurt and all those things that went towards ’16. But hurt is kinda funny, it brought us together.
“We didn’t really take it as hurt, we got confidence from it, and we knew we could get back to that.
“And again this year, we’re using our loss from last year and all the experience we have in the team, and the youth that we have in the team, to bring it all through again.”