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Don't write us off warns Coalisland veteran Kane

At 36, Plunkett Kane (left) is still a key figure in the Fianna side after almost two decades of service Picture: Seamus Loughran.
FRANCIS MOONEY

WRITE us off at your peril – that's the message from a Coalisland side that has taken the art of survival to a whole new level.

Going into this year's Tyrone Championship under a cloud following a poor run in the League, expectations were low from a team struggling to find form.

But three outrageous comebacks later, they're in the county final with a new lease of life and an unflappable self-belief.

“Everybody has ruled us out from the start of the year, but Coalisland don't lie down, and we'll go to the final whistle,” said veteran midfielder Plunkett Kane.

“Whenever you pull on the Coalisland jersey, there's pride and respect.

“It has been a tough year for Coalisland, we haven't been good in the league, and a lot of people have doubted us.

“But that's the best way to respond to the doubt, getting into a championship final when nobody gave you a chance from the start of the year.

“We'll just keep going. We haven't won anything, we're only into the final now, but it's brilliant.”

If it goes to the wire again at Healy Park on Sunday, Kane will have no difficulty in placing his trust in the men who have dragged them back from the brink in the previous rounds against Edendork, Carrickmore and Errigal Ciaran.

“It's just the blend within the team, the mixture of the younger boys and the older boys.

“That's three battles that we have had, and came from behind three times.

“It's going to be brilliant. Everybody loves to get to a championship final.

“In Tyrone, they don't happen that often, but it counts for nothing if you don't go on and win it.”

At 36, the experienced campaigner is still a key figure in the Fianna side after almost two decades of service.

With remarkable levels of stamina and energy, his promptings and influence are invaluable.

“You just go out and play. You know what it is, you have got the young lads driving you on, and once you have the young lads doing that, you like to chip in with a wee bit of experience.

“The legs can't do what they used to do, but hopefully I'm contributing to the team, and that's what it's all about.”

Another veteran, Brian Toner, has come off the bench in every game to add magical touches to the late surges which turned defeat to unlikely victory.

“Brian has come on in every game and won the match for us. If you have a man like that on the bench, that pushed everybody else on.

“We have got the squad there to compete. We didn't do ourselves justice in the League all year, but now we're in the Championship final, hopefully we can.”

It was Toner who grabbed the last of three late goals that stunned Errigal Ciaran in the semi-final.

With a seven points lead and a man extra heading into the final ten minutes at Plunkett Park, Errigal looked certain to march on to face Dromore in the final, but Coalisland's turbo-charged finish turned a crazy game on its head.

“That's the way football goes, we were seven points down, you've seen in happening before, against Edendork, we were seven or eight down and we came back that day.

“We're playing against Errigal, you're playing the best teams in the county, that's why the Tyrone Championship is so good.

“And thankfully we just came out the right end of it again.”

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