GAA Football

Errigal Ciaran's fully focused on Tyrone SFC semi-final against Coalisland - Niall Kelly

Niall Kelly lifts the Sam Maguire Cup aloft after Tyrone's triumph in September.
Pic Philip Walsh
Francis Mooney

Errigal Ciaran are on the move again, their hearts set on a return to Tyrone's top table and a first Championship success since 2012.

There's a buzz of excitement in the air around Dunmoyle as they prepare for Sunday's semi-final clash with Coalisland, with their hopes pinned on an exciting band of attacking stars who have taken this year's series by storm.

But centre back Niall Kelly insists that the alluring sparkle of a gleaming trophy will not distract the players from the detailed preparation, the basics of hard work and dedication that must go into every game.

It was that honest endeavour that provided the platform for victories over Clonoe and Loughmacrory that have progressed the club to the last four.

"We're not thinking about O'Neill Cups at the minute, we're just thinking about the next round," said Kelly.

"We're just happy to be in there, because we knew Loughmacrory would come with a dogfight for us, and we're just happy to be in the next round.

Teenager Ruairi Canavan has lit up the Red Hand series with his spectacular cameo appearances, coming off the bench in both games to shoot 0-5 against Loughmacrory and 1-3 in the quarter-final win over Loughmacrory.

His wonder goal last weekend was simply outrageous, a 35 metre lob rippling the net five minutes into the second half as a big Pairc Colmcille crowd watched on in amazement.

"He has been working hard, but we have a panel of players and every man is equal. Any man coming on to our field, we're happy with," Kelly said.

Ruairi's older brother Darragh also has the magic touch, but at the heart of Errigal's philosophy lies the collective effort and the work ethic that drives the team.

Cathal Corrigan embodied that ethos in last weekend's victory over Loughmacrory, throwing himself into every challenge with all his heart, and forcing countless turnovers, two of which led to his side's goals.

"Cathal has been working really hard, I don't know how many turnovers he got, he worked really hard, and I'm happy for him."

Kelly, one of five Errigal Ciaran players in the All-Ireland winning Tyrone squad, is a rock at the heart of his side's defence, delivering another solid performance in the 2-9 to 0-7 quarter-final success, despite the adverse weather conditions that made flowing, attractive football almost impossible.

"It was atrocious weather and it was just going to be a war, and we knew that, coming in against Loughmacrory.

"They were never going to lie down, they were never going to go away, and we're just happy to be in the next round, and that's it.

"We knew what was going to happen, we knew it was going to be tight, so we just had to keep our focus, get the men on the right ball in the right places, and the scores would come."

Errigal have a major doubt over captain and full back Aidan McCrory, who missed the win over Loughmacrory due to a hamstring injury picked up in the first round clash with Clonoe.

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