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Kennedy delighted to get off the mark with Derrylaughan in Tyrone SFC

After the high of winning Sam Maguire with Tyrone in the summer, Brian Kennedy is happy to be back in club action with Derrylaughan Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Francis Mooney

LCC Group Tyrone Senior Football Championship

IT was all set up for an intriguing battle between past and present Tyrone midfielders as Brian Kennedy’s Derrylaughan faced off against a Moy side built around Colm Cavanagh.

But it didn’t work out that way. Past master Cavanagh took up a deep-lying role while the new kid on the block ruled the skies and played a crucial role in his side’s 1-10 to 0-11 senior championship preliminary round win under the floodlights at Dungannon Eoghan Ruadh Hurling Club grounds.

“He was just teasing me, he would have even been talking to me during the game,” said Kennedy.

“It was just about keeping yourself in the middle and not getting drawn into a one-to-one against him, because then you might not have as big an influence as you would have down the centre.”

A whirlwind season with the Red Hands peaked to a dream climax for Kennedy in Sam Maguire Cup triumph over Mayo, but he’s glad to be back at the grassroots and reunited with his loughshore buddies.

“It was good to get back down to earth definitely after a hectic few weeks.

“It’s always good to get back with the lads that you have played with throughout your youth and great to get back in and get a win in the championship, it’s extra special.”

Former Antrim star Kevin Niblock has joined the Derrylaughan set-up, and his fitness and coaching techniques have had a positive impact.

The players have responded positively to the new voice on the training pitch, and performances have improved accordingly.

“Kevin has come in there and the lads love him," Kennedy said.

“He has put in a great shift in training, and his mentality towards the game, he just loves it and everybody rows in behind him.”

The Kevin Barry’s have little time to rest and recover ahead of their next championship challenge.

They face Division One leaders Loughmacrory in a first round tie this weekend, with influential playmaker Liam Gervin a doubt, having picked up a hamstring injury in the win over Moy.

“We’ll take it one step at a time, and hopefully next weekend against Loughmacrory we’ll put our name in the hat again,” said Kennedy.

“They’re not there (league leaders) for no reason. They’re a young side and very well drilled from what I hear. I haven’t seen much of them yet, but they’re going to be another step or two up.

“Conall Grimes is a tasty footballer, and Anton Fox, Cathal Donaghy. They have plenty of talent.

“It’s always good to get the first win, it’s not something that our club would get too often in senior championship.

“Liam went off early and Owen (Cushnahan) went off cramped up. Maybe with a few days rest those guys will be alright.

“We have a good young panel there as well, so there are plenty of options to fill in.”

Derrylaughan had to battle relentlessly to shake off the challenge of a determined Moy side, a 52nd minute goal from substitute Ciaran Gervin proving the decisive score.

“That’s what you expect against the Moy. It might not be the prettiest game, they’ll be defensive and you’ll be working hard for your scores.

“A high ball in, and Ciaran Gervin got a good fist to it, that’s the breaks you need in these games.

“That score is massive, for three points, it would take a long time to get them in a match against the Moy, so we were just very thankful for it.”

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