Carrickmore's revival takes major step forward with Tyrone SFC win over Coalisland


LCC Group Tyrone SFC round one: Carrickmore 4-7 Coalisland 1-8
CARRICKMORE look like they are ready to write a new chapter in a storied history. 
Without a Tyrone Championship title since 2005, they made their boldest statement in years at O’Neills Healy Park last night as they routed last season’s beaten finalists to claim a place in the quarter-finals.
With two goals in each half, they nailed the big scores at the perfect stages of a contest that never looked like slipping out of their control.
This was a renewal of a longstanding rivalry, and the gap had clearly narrowed, with Coalisland having held the upper hand in recent meetings of the sides, but scraping home with just a point to spare in last year’s quarter-final. 
A project of renewal at Carrickmore has been in process for some time, evidenced by a Division One League title last year, but it’s 17 years since they last won a Championship title.
But the collapse of Coalisland’s resistance was quite staggering, as was their failure to reach the levels of intensity expected at this level. 
This must be seen as a significant step, a big scalp for a proud club emerging from lean times, and exciting times on the horizon.
Next up, it’s a quarter-final derby against neighbours Loughmacrory, and just like the old days, Carmen are strong favourites for a Championship tie.

Jonny Munroe made a triumphant return from injury with two goals to cap an accomplished midfield performance, and with a fully fit squad, the future looks bright for Carmen.
Carrickmore spent the opening eight minutes resisting their opponents’ pressing and probing, with a double sweeper, and holding their shape in spite of the loss ofcentre-back James Donaghy to a black card after three minutes.
And they broke to stun their opponents with a ninth minute goal, wing-back Niall Allison sprinting along the right flank to collect a return pass from Martin Penrose and smack his shot past Fintan Coney.
Cathaoir Quinn got Coalisland off the mark in the 15th minute, but they conceded a second goal, remarkably after a second Carrickmore black card.
Danny Fullerton was the next man to go to the sin bin, but within three minutes, they had the ball in the net again. 
Lorcan McGarrity smashed a shot against the crossbar, and Jonny Munroe was perfectly placed to collect the rebound and finish from close range.
Coalisland skipper Peter Herron became the third player to be black-carded, sitting out the final 10 minutes of the half, but two more Quinn scores cancelled out point by Rory Donnelly and Fullerton.
Carmen were composed at the back as the blues pressed late on, and were well worth their five-point interval lead, 2-3 to 0-4, at the turnaround.
A five-minute blitz at the start of the second-half saw them hit 2-2 to virtually put the game out of sight.
Jonny Munroe couldn’t believe the space he was allowed to claim as his own as he raced into the patch of cousin Cormac’s assist to smash the ball past Coney.
Fullerton drilled in a fourth and the Coalisland defence was in disarray, struggling to contain the runners.
They managed to get a measure of control, but the damage was done, before Sean Corr reduced the deficit with a handful of frees.

Referee Shane Meehan had more cards to show, a straight red for Carrickmore defender Sean Donnelly, and a black for Coalisland’s Padraig Hampsey But the Fianna did pull back a stoppage time goal through Michael McKernan, who cut in from the left to find the net, but it was too late.

Carrickmore: J McCallan; S Donnelly, L McBride, S Sweeney; N Allison (1-0), J Donaghy, R Donnelly (0-1); J Munroe (2-0), R Loughran (0-1); A Fullerton, C Munroe, R Slane; M Penrose, D Fullerton (1-2), L McGarrity (0-2, 0-1 free). Subs: S Loughran (0-1) for Donaghy, C Daly for D Fullerton, B Conway for A Fullerton, M Donaghy for J Munroe, M Donnelly for C Munroe 
Coalisland: F Coney; O McHugh, L O’Neill (0-1), C Doyle; N Devlin, P Hampsey, M McKernan (1-0); J Carberry, R McHugh; S McNally, P Herron, B Leonard; P Kane, S Corr (0-3 frees), C Quinn (0-4, 0-2 frees). Subs: R Campbell for McNally, B Hampsey for Kane, N Kerr for McHugh 
Referee: S Meehan (Glenelly).