IT SPEAKS volumes for the growing stature of both Trillick and Killyclogher that on a day of blockbuster clashes they’ve been afforded the marquee Sunday night headliner slot in the Tyrone Senior Championship.
Plunkett Park in Pomeroy will be jammed to the rafters for this eagerly anticipated repeat of last year’s Senior Final, and on the evidence of last weekend it’s a contest that the two combatants enter in fine fettle.
On Saturday Killyclogher ruthlessly put former county kingpins Errigal Ciaran to the sword with a power-packed display to run out emphatic 2-16 to 0-11 victors.
Not to be outdone the O’Neill Cup holders Trillick flexed their attacking muscles twenty-four hours later to dispose of Eglish in facile manner 3-18 to 0-11, even without the services of talisman Matthew Donnelly.
The St Macartan’s clinched their seventh Senior crown with a narrow one point victory over Killyclogher to win the Tyrone SFC decider last October, Lee Brennan hitting the winning point from a 60th minute free to settle a gripping encounter.
The Reds manager Nigel Seaney, who overseen that memorable victory, was among the crowd watching Killyclogher crush Errigal at the weekend, and he feels that his charges will have to perform to their optimum level if they are to repeat the 2015 outcome.
“ I was at it and you had to be impressed. They have some great runners. They are a good side. We played them last year in the Championship Final so we know how good they are. Everyone has to go right for you to beat them, you have to be on top of your game. It’s a stiff challenge ahead for us.”
Despite the routine nature of Trillick’s triumph over Eglish, Seaney refused to get carried away with the performance and was especially irked with the ragged nature of their first half showing. That said he was still satisfied to get their defence of the County title off to a winning start.
“ I thought it was patchy at times and our handling was poor and our support play. I thought it was anything but impressive to be honest.
“ But the first round of the Championship is always a potential banana skin and getting over them is the main thing. I wouldn’t overanalyse it, the big thing was to get through it. We need to improve on that showing anyway.”
Trillick skipper Matthew Donnelly took part in the pre-match coin toss against Eglish on Sunday afternoon, but right before the throw-in was withdrawn from the starting fifteen due to a dead leg. He did score a point when introduced as an early blood sub for younger brother Richard, and then came on a permanent substitution in the second half. Seaney stated that ideally the Tyrone star would have sat out the whole game, to allow him to rest up ahead of stiffer assignments down the road.
“ Our panel is so small that two or three players wouldn’t have played if we had a bigger choice and more extensive squad. It’s been that type of year for us all season, stop start with injuries and knocks. Because of the size of our panel we have to manage it as best we can. That contributed a bit to our sluggishness I felt. But to get through the first round and have no-one injured or hurt is a bonus and we had to be satisfied with that.”
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