Sperrin Óg make historic final apperance as St Macartan's look to regain Tyrone title
Murphy's Gaelic Gloves Tyrone Senior Ladies's Football Championship final: St Macartan's v Sperrin Óg, Greencastle (tomorrow, Healy Park, 7pm)
TOMORROW'S Tyrone Senior Championship final has thrown up a new pairing with the experienced St Macartan's taking on first time senior finalists Sperrin Óg, Greencastle.
St Macartan's are vying for a record equalling 13th senior title, missing out on that achievement last year with defeat to Carrickmore in the final. But they are back here once again and hoping to regain their crown and a sixth title in seven years.
This is an historic day for Sperrin Óg, managed by Dean Fox, Shane Coyle and Nuala Clarke - the former two in their first year at the helm - as they are the first team in the history of the club to reach a senior county final. For the ladies' team, it has been been 10 years since their last county final appearance - that in the intermediate competition but losing out to Donaghmore. They were still promoted to the senior grade that year, and have remained there since, but this is their first time reaching the final.
The sides met in the league with Macartan's coming out on top and they went on to win the league title but it was a good campaign for Sperrin Óg who finished in the top four and no doubt established a platform to build on ahead of the championship.
Sperrin Óg know they will be underdogs going into tomorrow’s game but they will see Macartan's as shouldering the pressure and know they have nothing to lose going into battle. They put in a superb performance in the semi-final seeing off Errigal Ciaran in a tense 2-8 to 1-10 affair after extra-time and they have plenty of leaders all over the field including captain Eadaoin Fox, team vice-captain Aileen Tuohey, Tyrone sharpshooter and captain Niamh O’Neill. Sperrin Óg won the Ulster and All-Ireland Junior Club Championship titles in 2011 and a number of players still remain including Aisling and Michaela Fox - sisters of captain Eadaoin, Laura Lee O’Donnell, Shauneen Ferrity, Kim McCullagh McGinn and also Niamh O’Neill.
St Macartan's remain under the tutelage of Ryan McMenamin alongside Aidan McElroy. They too needed extra-time to see off Kileeshil in their semi-final 1-9 to 1-6. The backbone of this teams is still made up of players who have enjoyed huge success with St Macartan's like Maura McMenamin, Paula Donnelly, Colleen and Shannon McQuaid, Slaine McCarroll, Chloe McCaffrerty and Niamh McGirr while stalwart Cathy Maguire is also back in the fold.
It’s a big weekend for Tyrone ladies football, in their 30th anniversary year, with Healy Park hosting all three senior grade finals. The junior decider takes place today between Loughmacrory and Clonoe (6.30pm) with the intermediate final between Cappagh and Moortown the curtain-raiser at 5pm tomorrow followed by the senior final at 7pm.