Hampsey and Morgan go toe-to-toe as Coalisland avoid shock against Edendork
A FASCINATING sub-plot to a sensational Tyrone SFC tie cast two All-Ireland winning heroes into an unlikely personal duel.
Goalkeeper Niall Morgan lined out at full-forward for Edendork in their clash with Coalisland, taking on Padraig Hampsey in a raging battle for supremacy.
A shock was on the cards as Edendork roared into an eight-point lead, but two stoppage time goals saw the Fianna stage a remarkable escape act to go through to the quarter-final with a 4-9 to 3-10 win.
Morgan scored four points, and while just one of them was from play, he gave Red Hand skipper Hampsey a difficult afternoon.
“I knew what he was going to bring to the table, and it was the next ball that was in my head,” said Hampsey.
“If he got the better of me for one ball, it was the next one, to try and get on the ball myself.
“Niall is a shrewd operator inside. He knows what he's about, he wins marks, and he's a strong player.
“He keeps me right in training in the full back line, we have a good relationship there. We're just happy to have him in our county.”
Another match-up between Tyrone team-mates saw Michael McKernan track Darren McCurry, but only after the latter had rattled the Fianna net for Edendork's first goal.
“Dazzler has the dancing feet. He'll take you one way and then he'll sell you a dummy.
“Those boys were key aspects of Tyrone's play this year, and it's hard for those boys to lose a game like that,” Hampsey said.
Coalisland went in as firm favourites against a St Malachy's side that had failed to pick up a single point in the league, but the return of county stars Morgan, McCurry and Conn Kilpatrick for this derby clash had a transformative effect.
“We weren't looking ahead of Edendork. We knew what they were about, we knew the calibre of players that they had, the likes of Dazzler, Conn, and big Niall, who was giving me a hard time inside.
“And even lads outside of that, the likes of Conor Mallon and those boys, who are great players.
“It's hard lines for those lads, I feel sorry for them, for a lot of us are close friends outside of it.”
Hampsey admitted that his side stole victory with the injury-time goals from Peter Herron and Stephen McNally that broke Edendork hearts and set up a last eight clash with Carrickmore.
“It was a smash and grab. Coming into the last five minutes, we knew if we were there or thereabouts, we had the players and the calibre to go on and win the game.
“And thankfully we had the right men up front, the likes of our older players, Brian Toner, Mackers (Stephen McNally) and Plunkett Kane, boys that you would want on the ball up front, and they can do the damage.”