Conall Devlin always had faith in Ardboe's stamina
ARDBOE had the stamina, the legs and the lasting power for the long haul as they came good in extra-time to oust Coalisland and book their place in the Connollys of Moy Tyrone SFC semi-final.
Defender Conall Devlin felt confident at the end of a 60-minute stalemate that a younger, more energised Rossa side would maintain the furious pace of championship football against an experienced Fianna outfit.
They were deadlocked at 0-11 each at the conclusion of normal time, after Coalisland’s Tiarnan Quinn had hit a late equaliser.
But the loughshore men dominated the added stretch, out-scoring their opponents by 1-3 to no score to run out 1-14 to 0-11 winners.
“We’d hoped to win it in normal time, but we knew going into extra time that we had a lot more to give,” said Devlin.
“We knew that we had left it behind in the game and knew that if we kept doing things the way we were supposed to that we’d have enough in the tank to get over the line.”
Oran Mulgrew sealed the deal with the only goal of the game in the second period of extra-time at Plunkett Park, but by that stage, Ardboe had tightened their grip on the contest.
“The goal definitely made the difference. It was a good win, especially against Coalisland who are just up the road,” Devlin said.
“It was a bit fierce at times and some rough hits. We knew we’d get a goal chance at some stage and it was great to hit the net.”
Coalisland went into the game under a cloud, with a relegation play-off hanging over them, but their Championship tradition and the talent they possess meant they had to be taken seriously.
“This is Tyrone championship football and you can’t be taking anything for granted.
“It’s one game at a time. That’s the thing about Division One football any team can beat any other on their day. You can’t go into any game too complacent or thinking that you’ll lose.”
Ardboe face a huge challenge in their semi-final clash with champions Errigal Ciaran on the weekend after next.
When the sides met in the league, it was the Rossas who came out on top, but the O’Neill Cup holders have been impressive in the defence of their title to date.
“We beat them in the league and you know the championship is a different kind of football totally. We know that on our we’ll give Errigal a good battle and just hope that we can keep ourselves in it with 10 or 15 minutes to go and then try and push on from there.”
Meanwhile, Coalisland now switch their focus to survival, and a relegation play-off against Moortown that they must win to preserve their senior status.