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Lee Brennan impressed for Trillick in the Tyrone Senior Football Championship.
Lee Brennan impressed for Trillick in the Tyrone Senior Football Championship.

Trillick and Errigal Ciaran advance in Tyrone 

Tyrone Senior Football Championship Semi-Finals



By Michael Devlin

Trillick and Errigal Ciaran will contest the 2019 Tyrone SFC Final in two weeks’ time following victories in this afternoon’s semi-finals over Coalisland and Carrickmore respectively.

The St Macartan’s came out one-point winners over reigning champions Coalisland in a cracking game at Pomeroy earlier in the afternoon.

County captain Mattie Donnelly got the ball rolling for the 2015 champions with a point in the opening minute, with brother and fellow Tyrone star Richard following up soon after to double their lead.

Cathaoir Quinn and Michael McKernan responded for Coalisand as the game settled into a nip and tuck rhythm. The lively Tiarnan Quinn and McKernan supplied scores for the Fianna, while Lee Brennan (two frees), James Garrity and Ryan Gray were on target for Trillick.

By the 24th minute, the scores were locked on 0-6 apiece, with Tiarnan Quinn landing the score of the game with a brilliant swerving effort. Richard Donnelly kept Trillick on par before Cormac O’Hagan struck a long range free and Quinn added his third of the half as Coalisland led by two at the break.

A far more purposeful Trillick emerged after the interval however, and Lee Brennan’s ’45 and a Ryan Gray point equalled matters before Patrick McNeice opened his account for Coalisland to nudge them back in front.

Trillick though moved up a gear over the next quarter, with the Donnelly brothers taking a grip on proceedings and Brennan giving masterclass in place ball kicking in tricky underfoot conditions. His three frees from big distances moved Trillick three in front as the reigning champions’ title defence stalled, and while McNiece and sub Peter McGahan brought the gap back to one in the closing minutes, a last gasp free from O’Hagan was off cue and Trillick saw out the win.

In Dungannon, Peter Harte was the difference as Errigal Ciaran got the better of old rivals Carrickmore, winning 1-11 to 0-9. The two teams have won the O’Neill Cup a combined 13 times since 1993, with Errigal’s last title coming in 2012 and Carrickmore’s back in 2005.

Mickey Donaghy opened the scoring with a free to put Carrickmore ahead, but Errigal soon settled and Pauric McAnenly, Ben McDonnell and a Harte free put them into the lead by the tenth minute. Former Tyrone All-Ireland winner Martin Penrose and Rory Grimes responded with points for Carrickmore to level scores, before Grimes exited the action after receiving a black card.

Tyrone U-20 starlet Darragh Canavan then struck for the game’s key goal, working his way inside to plant the ball past Jack McCallan in the 20th minute. Conor Quinn nearly flicked in another moments later but his effort came back off the post. Scores were at a premium thereafter, with Harte landing a great score from the left wing to send Errigal in at the break with a four-point advantage.

Two Harte frees came either side of a placed ball effort from Donaghy at the start of the second half, but Carrickmore were unable to claw back the goal cushion for the remainder of the game. Sean Donnelly and Niall Allison were on target for St Colmcilles, and Conor Gormley came off the bench to add to keep them in the hunt.

But county man Harte was the star for Errigal, adding further scores from play and frees to bring his total to seven points. McAnenly raced away in the final moments to pop over the game’s final score, extending Errigal’s winning margin to five points in the end.

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