TRILLICK’S players were determined not to finish the season empty-handed after crashing out of the Tyrone Championship in the first round, according to skipper Rory Brennan.
The Reds were the first team to bow out of the race for the O’Neill Cup this year, losing to Dungannon in the opening tie, but they regrouped to win the Division One League title with victory over Killyclogher in the final at the weekend.
A 0-10 to 0-8 success was only achieved after extra-time, thanks to an equalising ’45 converted by Brennan’s younger brother Lee deep into injury-time.
“We had a poor performance against Dungannon in the championship. We were licking our wounds, but we had put in a serious shift this year and we didn’t want to come away with nothing, so on the Tuesday night, we put our shoulder to the wheel, really knuckled down and focused on finishing the year with something to show for it,” said Tyrone defender Brennan.
“It’s not easy. You go out at the start of the year and your target is Championship.
“Yes, it’s a kick in the teeth to be out of the championship in the first round on a Thursday night.
“It was a hard one to take, but we put in a massive effort this year, and the League was one of our targets.
“We still had that to work for, and we weren’t going to let that pass us by and throw it away.
“So we just regrouped, reset, put in there weeks hard training, and thankfully now we have something to show for the year.”
It was Trillick’s first league title in 37 years, and while they have won the championship three times since that 1985 success, it’s a record that the club wants to improve.
“It’s been far too long since Trillick have had a League title. The League is probably under-rated, it shows consistency week-in, week-out, and this year we had that in abundance,” said Brennan.
“We had a couple of great results throughout the League, I think we only had three losses, they were all really tight games.
“It’s a very competitive League in Tyrone football, and to come out on top after 17 games is no mean feat.”
Driving wind and rain made for treacherous conditions for the League decider at Gardrum Park, but two fiercely committed teams laid on a compelling contest.
It was Trillick who found the balance between defensive resilience and offensive dynamic to grab the decisive scores in extra-time, while holding their opponents scoreless.
“It wasn’t easy, underfoot conditions were brutal and it wasn’t a great spectacle in the first half for the neutral.
“But we had to play the conditions, and Killyclogher put up a serious fight, but we came strong in the end.
“Our experienced players got on the ball, worked the ball well, and our young guns too and showed well for the ball and showed great appetite.
“We just did what we had to do and thankfully came out the other end.”
Having finished their season on a high, Trillick now have a platform from which to launch a fresh challenge in 2023.
“We have a couple of great young lads coming through there, and we have another conveyor belt coming after that.
“I thought the young boys did really well this year, bedding into the team, there’s a lot of lads that have really stepped up and they’re playing with an experienced head on their shoulders.”