SENIOR new boys Pomeroy and Clonoe will do it all over again at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh this evening after the sides couldn’t be separated in Saturday’s championship quarter-final at Dungannon.
The O’Rahilly’s needed a stoppage-time equaliser from Danny McNulty to avoid the same fate as county champions Killyclogher and maintain their interest in setting up a last four showdown against Errigal Ciaran. The Plunketts might have something to say about that when the sides lock horns for the second time in three days.
Saturday’s quarter-final was an absorbing contest from start to finish, a compelling battle between two totally committed teams who showed in graphic fashion just how much it meant to them.
The Plunketts were six points up at one stage, but battle-hardened Clonoe used their vast experience to claw their way back, always willing to back themselves to craft and execute that vital late score, even if it came deep into added time.
It was clear right from the outset that Pomeroy were not going to over-awed by their big-name opponents, as they threw themselves confidently into the contest.
Frank Burns and Kevin Armstrong had them ahead by a couple of points early on, and they were brave and defiant at the back, where Brendan Burns, Ciaran McKenna and Hugh Pat McGeary showed no fear as they launched themselves into every challenge.
Clonoe struggled to come to terms with the intensity their opponents brought to it, and waves of attacks ended in scores for Ollie McCreesh, Brenadn Burns, Ryan Loughran and exciting wing back Aidan Woods as they strode into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead.
Clonoe went 12 minutes without a score, before Declan McClure landed a couple of frees to steady them, but the Plunketts came roaring back with three more quality scores, from Frank Burns (2) and Jude Campbell.
It was 0-9 to 0-4 at the break, after Paul Coney had pulled back a point deep into stoppage time, and Clonoe stepped up the tempo after the restart, scoring four of the first five points of the second half.
McClure steered over another free, and Danny McNulty, who had been held by Hugh Pat McGeary, finally got out to collect Conor McLaughlin’s delivery and turn to guide his shot over the bar.
McLaughlin turned from provider to finisher, narrowing the gap to two, but Pomeroy were still fighting, and Woods displayed tenacity to turn over possession and send Gavin Goodfellow away to provide the assist for a terrific Brendan Burns score.
McNulty drove a ’45 between the posts, but again, the Plunketts absorbed a spell of pressure to drive forward once again, and when John Loughran and Campbell tagged on points, they led by four with ten minutes to play and looked like they were on their way to another stunning result.
Clonoe dug deep, as they have done so often in the past, with Paul Coney and Dwayne Quinn probing from deep, and Patrick Doris and Ryan T O’Neill picking up lots of breaking ball around midfield.
They hit the last four points of the contest, Quinn finishing off a carefully crafted move built on patience, before the excellent PJ Lavery narrowed the gap further.
Collie Doris left just a point between the sides, and it was full forward McNulty who made light of all the pressure as he thumped over a magnificent equaliser in the second minute of time added on.
FULL CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND-UP IN YESTERDAY’S TYRONE HERALD
Posted: 10:22 am September 26, 2017
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