A PROCESS of renewal is bearing fruit at Pairc Colmcille, and Carrickmore are on the march again.
A resounding victory over last year’s beaten finalists announced their arrival at the next stage of a meticulously planned and lovingly nurtured project as they charged into the Tyrone SFC quarter-finals.
Full-back Lorcan McBride believes an eight-point defeat of Coalisland is a sign that the club is ready to take its place among the main title contenders.
“This past few years we maybe got past one team and then we struggled to get past a second, maybe got a bit carried away with it.
“But we saw Coalisland out, and I think that’s a sign that we are maturing,” he said.
“It has been a long work in the making. There have been years when we have been weak, and that’s as a result of putting in new players to get them experience.
“But it’s starting to come together, and as the years are progressing, we’re starting to gel together nicely.”
Carrickmore top the roll of honour with 15 titles, but the most recent success was back in 2005.
They laid down a marker of progress with a Division One League title last year, but it’s O’Neill Cup success that really matters to the county’s most successful club.
“We won’t get carried way, but this is a good stepping stone to the next stage.
“We certainly need to break that 17-year lapse in winning Championships, and we hope to do it this year.”
Carmen bagged four goals in the Healy Park rout of Coalisland on Monday evening, clinical in their execution of opportunities, and at one stage they led by 14 points.
“We’ve seen in the championship that when an opportunity arises you go for it, or else you’re out, and we went for it,” said McBride, reflecting on two Jonny Munroe strikes and goals from Niall Allison and Danny Fullerton.
McBride, the son of former Tyrone attacker and current Clonduff manager Ciaran, has made the number three short his own after bringing his versatility to a number of roles over the past couple of seasons.
“I enjoy playing full-back. I prefer to be playing further out the pitch, but as anybody will know, you take the jersey you’re give and you play it as well as you can. I’m enjoying it, so I’ll see where it goes.”
Now it’s a derby quarter-final against Loughmacrory at Plunkett Park on Saturday week, another big Tyrone SFC occasion to set the pulses racing.
“As we have seen earlier in the championship, being favourites going into games doesn’t work, especially in the Tyrone Championship.
“Loughmacrory will be a big challenge for us and I’d imagine it will be a tight enough game. If we don’t perform, we won’t win, it’s as simple as that.
“Loughmacrory will have no problem getting up for us or anybody else.
“They had good League form last year, maybe slipped a bit this year, but definitely they have the potential to take any team.”
The LCC Group Tyrone SFC quarter-finals:
Saturday, October 8: Clonoe v Donaghmore (Edendork, 1pm); Carrickmore v Loughmacrory (Pomeroy, 3.45pm)
Sunday, Octobter 9: Dromore (holders) v Omagh (Loughmacrory, 1pm); Errigal Ciaran v Dungannon (Carrickmore, 3.45pm)