GAA Football

Dromore's Niall Sludden keen to tighten up leaky defence ahead of Dungannon clash

Niall Sludden knows Dromore have a lot to improve on to go further in the Tyrone SFC Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Francis Mooney

NIALL Sludden says Dromore’s number one priority is to shore up a leaky defence ahead of Sunday’s Connolly's of Moy Tyrone SFC quarter-final against Dungannon.

Goalkeeper Mark McGale pulled off a string of brilliant saves as Galbally broke through time after time last weekend, helping his side survive with a nervous 1-8 to 2-3 first round win.

“That’s something that we have to be working at for Dungannon in the next round. We know that they’re a goal-hungry team,” said Sludden.

“So we have to clean that up, or we won’t be going too far in the Championship.

“But it’s good to have things to work on, and you would hope that Mark McGale in nets isn’t going to be as busy the next day or the next couple of days.”

The Dunmoyle clash will be the second Championship meeting of the clubs in three years, with Dromore beating the reigning champions in 2021 on their way to winning the title themselves.

“We have had many battles with them, we had a titanic battle with them a couple of years ago and we came out on the right side of it.

“We know the quality that Dungannon have, but we’re looking forward to it, that’s why you train and do those things.

“It’s a one-week turnaround too, so it’s all about recovery and getting ready for that.”

Sludden, the only Tyrone player to win an All-Ireland medal and a county championship in the same season, has been around long enough to know that nothing can be taken for granted in the notoriously unpredictable O’Neill Cup series.

“It’s always tricky in Tyrone, and you look at League form and teams that are going well, but Carrickmore and Killyclogher are out.

“Anybody can beat anybody on the day, and we’re just glad to get through, but everybody who has reached the quarter-finals will have ambitions to win it.”

Dromore played with the aid of a gale at Carrickmore last weekend, but conceded two first half goals, leaving them with a slender two points interval lead.

But they steadied the ship, conceding just two second half points, with the help of reinforcements off the bench.

“The impact of the bench was important, there were a few boys who came on and made a difference. We have massive trust in our full panel, even the boys that don’t make it, they’re quality players.

“We had the two Ronan McNabbs coming in, my brother Oran, Tommy McCarron, we have that experience across the board, and you need that, you need your panel. That’s the way the games are.”

“We were looking at the weather forecast, and Galbally the same. There were a lot of things that we could have done better, but it was just about grinding out the win.

“It tests your resolve and character, and team spirit as well.”

It was never convincing though, and goalkeeper McGale had to come to the rescue again in the closing stages as Galbally hunted to the very end.

“It was touch and go near the end, we gave the ball away. That could have ended up in the back of the net.

“Another day you won’t get away with that, we were punished here before for that.

“But we’re just glad to be through and we look forward to the next challenge.”


Dromore managers Paul McIvor (left) and Ryan McMenamin Picture: Oliver McVeigh.




GAA Football