GAA Football

Tyrone's twin towers to go head to head on club circuit

Tyrone's Brian Kennedy is back in action with his club Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Francis Mooney

Tyrone’s towering midfield stars will go head to head this weekend in a battle of the skies as the county’s All-Ireland heroes return to their clubs.

League action resumes on Sunday, with the county players lining out for their clubs for the first time this season in round 10 of the series.

A highlight of the afternoon sees Brian Kennedy and Conn Kilpatrick in direct opposition as Derrylaughan visit Edendork.

The pair played heroic roles in last weekend’s All-Ireland final win over Mayo, with 6’7” Kennedy and Kilpatrick, standing at 6’5”, dominating the midfield battle.

Now they are set to oppose each other in pursuit of vital league points for their respective clubs.

“Both of us could be playing full forward or somewhere, so it might not just be the duel everybody thinks it’s going to be, Kennedy joked.

And the Derrylaughan star reflected on a momentous day at Croke Park, where he and Kilpatrick rose magnificently to the occasion with a brilliant display against a highly rated Mayo pairing of Mattie Ruane and Conor Loftus.

“We knew going into the game that Aidan O’Shea could play there, Matthew Ruane, all top quality footballers, and they have been around the block, with plenty of experience.

“Myself and Conn just had to knuckle down and do the homework really.

“Niall Morgan with his kick-outs really helped us, and the guys coming in around for the breaks made it that bit easier for us to get the possession from our kick-outs in the midfield battle.”

Kennedy is the first player from any of the four clubs in the Clonoe parish – Derrylaughan, Clonoe, Brocagh and Derrytresk – to win an All-Ireland medal.

His midfield partnership with Kilpatrick has been some time in the making, stretching back to early school days at St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon.

“Me and Conn have played together all the way up through school in the Academy, both playing midfield.

“But there’s no better place to gain experience than in Croke Park.

“It’s all a big learning curve, and the only way you will gain experience is by going and playing these matches, and it has shown. I think we can battle with the best.”

Niall Morgan and Darren McCurry will also be in the Edendork team, while the Tyrone captain and vice-captain will be on opposite sides when Padraig Hampsey’s Coalisland visit Pomeroy, where Kieran McGeary is a mainstay, along with Frank Burns and hugh Pat McGeary.

Also on Hampsey’s Fianna team is Michael McKernan.

Another game presenting an intriguing contest involving Red Hand men is Errigal Ciaran’s meeting with Killyclogher.

Errigal Ciaran, with the highest representation in the county squad – Peter Harte, Ben McDonnell, Darragh Canavan, Niall Kelly and Darragh McAnenly – take on a Killyclogher side deaturing Tiarnan McCann and Mark Bradley.

Donaghmore, with Tyrone panellists Lorcan Quinn and Shea Hamill, have home advantage against a Trillick side that will arrive fortified by the inclusion of Mattie and Richie Donnelly and the Brennan brothers, Rory and Lee.

And Ardboe will travel with a strengthened team including Michael O’Neill and Michael Cassidy for their clash with Niall Sludden’s second placed Dromore.

League leaders Carrickmore, buoyed by the return of Johnny Munroe and Cormac Munroe, take on Conor McKenna’s Eglish,

County champions Dungannon welcome back Paul Donaghy for their clash with Omagh, who will have Conor Meyler and Ronan O’Neill on board.

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GAA Football