DROMORE Under-21s were crowned Kings of Ulster on Sunday afternoon, an opportunist goal from Tiernan Sludden five minutes from time helping them brush off a stubborn challenge from Carryduff at Creggan Kickhams.
With man of the match Emmett McNabb pulling the strings, and receiving able support from the likes of Ruairi Teague, Ryan McCusker, Cahir Goodwin and Peter Teague, the St Dympna’s produced a superb second half display to deservedly take the spoils.
The destination of the trophy was up for grabs at the break with Dromore just a point ahead, despite enjoying the advantage of a strong wind at their backs, but as has been the case throughout his tournament they upped the ante in the second period to emerge on the winning side.
Keen to become only the second ever Tyrone team to clinch the Paddy McLarnon Cup (Omagh, 2012 were the only previous winner in the competition’s ten year history), Dromore sought to utilise the elements in their favour, as the gusts swirled in from nearby Lough Neagh.
However a composed and physically impressive Carryduff side bossed the possession stakes for long periods, meaning that the normally prolific St Dympna’s attack fed off scraps at times.
One attacker who did come to the party though was Emmet McNabb who was a constant threat anytime he was fed quality ball in the first half.
He slotted over four points from play in the first 30 minutes, including a quality opener on five minutes after he skated clear of the Carryduff rearguard.
There was almost a dramatic start to the second half, with Beatty muscling his way through but the Carryduff marksman struck the post and the danger was averted.
McGeough was on the mark with a further free which squared matters once more but from there to the finish it was Dromore who dominated, as their key men took a vice-like grip on proceedings.
With McNabb covering every blade of grass, they carried the fight to Carryduff.
Both himself and Caolan McCrossan registered pointed frees to hand them a two point cushion once again, but they were indebted to keeper Mark McGale who pulled off two fine saves, including a point blank effort from Owen McCabe’s close range punched attempt, to preserve their lead.
FULL REPORT IN MONDAY’S TYRONE HERALD