GAA Football

Dromore determined to end decade-long wait for Tyrone SFC crown: O'Hara

Dromore's Conor O'Hara in Tyrone SFC preliminary round action against Ardboe.
Picture Seamus Loughran
Francis Mooney

CONOR O'Hara treasures his two Tyrone Senior Championship medals, but it's been 10 long years since the O'Neill Cup last resided in Dromore.

He's among a handful of survivors from the 2011 triumph who will face Coalisland in Sunday's final, eager to scratch the itch and initiate a new cycle of success for the club.

The occasion will be new to the vast majority of the St Dympna's players, unlike their opponents, who have been champions as recently as 2018.

"We are definitely disappointed as a club that we haven't won the Championship in 10 years. I'd say if you ask any big club, they'd say the same," said team captain O'Hara.

"The Tyrone Championship, it's a tough, tough Championship to get out of. There's been a few games that we have been disappointed not to get over the line, but then ultimately you have to look at yourself and why you didn't get over the line.

"We're definitely disappointed we didn't do more in the last ten years, but there have been new teams coming through and a change of the guard from some of the older boys that won the championship ten years ago to this crop of players that we have now.

"It's been a building process and we're looking to build each year and get better and better with each game."

A big performance is minimum requirement on county final day, but the 31-year-old defender has learned from experience, good and bad, that luck will invariably have a part to play on big sporting occasions.

"Thinking back when we won the Championship before, there were times when we got the luck to get us over the line.

"And there were games that you lost by a point or two that you just didn't get the luck.

"I don't think any team wins a championship without that bit of luck."

Dromore face a Coalisland team that has completed a series of remarkable comebacks to gate-crash their way into this weekend's decider.

Several Fianna fires will have to be extinguished, but first and foremost, the men from Gardrum Park will concentrate on maximising their own performance levels.

"We can only look at ourselves and try and get the best out of ourselves. We don't really look at the other team and decide who's favourites.

"We knew that against Dungannon and Trillick, but also against Ardboe and Eglish, that every game was going to be tough and it was going to come down to the last five minutes and we were just hoping to be in with a chance to win it in the last five minutes.

"We just try to hang in and do what we can do to implement our own game."

Dromore have taken a similar path to the decider, winning a close preliminary round tie against Ardboe, before going to extra-time as they squeezed out champions Dungannon and Eglish, and coming from behind for a sweet victory over neighbours Trillick.

"We have had a similar journey. At certain times in certain games it probably looked like we were down and out, but we rallied as well.

"The lads have shown great character to come back in games and get over the line.

"The Tyrone Championship is crazy, as everyone has seen this year.

"Every game takes on a life of its own, and it's just great to hang in there and show the character and grit that you need to win these games.

"Lucky enough, we have got a wee bit of luck along the way too to get over the line in games."


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GAA Football