GAA Football

Dromore know how to dig in says McNabb ahead of Tyrone final clash with Coalisland

Dromore's Emmett McNabb in action against Trillick's Daire Gallagher during the Tyrone SFC semi-final at Healy Park Picture: Seamus Loughran

DROMORE attacker Emmet McNabb believes his side can match Coalisland's incredible powers of survival in Sunday's Tyrone SFC final.

The St Dympna's have had their own brushes with defeat during a compelling series, coming through two extra-time thrillers before fighting back to beat Trillick in the semi-final.

Two teams who will battle to the death are facing the biggest test of their resilience to date when they meet in the Healy Park decider.

“We went to the wire in the preliminary round against Ardboe, we went to extra-time against Dungannon, Eglish took us to extra-time, and we went all the way against Trillick again,” said McNabb.

“We know what's in us, we're fit and we're hungry as well.”

It's not the final that many pundits predicted. Errigal Ciaran and Trillick were the fancied sides in the semi-final line-up, but Coalisland's late goal rush and Dromore's strong finish threw up an unexpected pairing.

A derby day upset saw the men from Gardrum Park rise to the occasion magnificently against last year's beaten finalists.

“We were written off coming into this, there were people talking about who is Trillick going to get in the county final, and we had a lot of people to prove wrong.”

McNabb's classy finishing has been key to pulling his side through four tough ties, and the 23-year-old will be looking to add to his 0-16 tally in his first appearance in a Senior final.

“I can't wait. It's what you dream of as a kid growing up. I have watched Dromore in several county finals, and you just be thinking, some day I would love to go out there and do that. Now's our chance.

“We won the Ulster U21 title two or three years ago, but a senior county title with your club is what you always dream of.

“The last county final was 2012, we were beat by Errigal Ciaran.”

Dromore will not be lacking in experience and leadership as they challenge for the club's fourth O'Neill Cup title, with a couple of players who have featured in all three previous successes.

“We have quality players in every line, we have Pete Teague, Ryan McCusker, Ronan McNabb, Sean McNabb, Niall Sludden. The list goes on, and there's some quality in that team.”

McNabb and his team-mates have played more championship football this season than any other team in Tyrone.

Having been drawn to face Ardboe in the preliminary round, they subsequently battled through extra-time thrillers against holders Dungannon and Eglish.

And despite a pressing six-day turnaround, they found the strength to squeeze past neighbours Trillick.

“It was demanding, and we were a couple down. Big Pete Teague never trained all week, Ryan McCusker at centre half back went off after 15 minutes.

“The boys didn't have time to recover, but we have the bench and we have the squad to get us over the line.

“We're happy with anybody who comes on. Odhran Rafferty hasn't played a lot of minutes this year, he came on and kicked a point that put us two points up.”


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GAA Football