HAVING suffered at the hands of a Coalisland team intent on revenge last year, Killyclogher are out to exact a bit of their own retribution in today’s Senior Championship quarter-final, attacker Simon O’Neill hopes.
The Fianna won their tenth Senior title with a resounding 2-11 to 1-7 victory over the Ballinamullan ‘blues’ in the 2018 decider, flipping the outcome of the Championship Final two seasons before when Killyclogher blew them away in a replay.
O’Neill, one of the stand out performers in Killyclogher’s tough opening round victory over Donaghmore a fortnight ago, admits that the pain of last year’s second half collapse when a resurgent ‘Island went to town should act as an effective motivational tool for St Mary’s.
“ We obviously have that bit of history with Coalisland having played them in a couple of finals in recent years. We know each other very well at this stage. It will be another interesting game to see who comes out on top.
“ There is good motivation for us after what happened last year. A few years ago we lost to Trillick in the final and then beat them the next year so we will be hoping for something similar with Coalisland.”
O’Neill bagged a crucial goal for Killyclogher in their come from behind 2-13 to 1-13 triumph over Donaghmore, though it was Nathan Donnelly’s major towards the close which proved the decisive score.
After a frustrating first part of the season, with a number of key men absent from the panel and a management team not finalised until the eleventh hour, Simon acknowledges that there was a sense of relief just to secure any sort of victory in their first Championship outing.
“The two teams went at it full-blooded from the start and it was a good Championship game. I’m sure any neutrals enjoyed it. We know that Donaghmore, over the last six or seven years, have been a bit of a bogey team for us.
“ It’s been an inconsistent year with boys in America and injuries, and other boys being away with the County. We were just glad to get over the line, you always are in the Championship whatever about the performance.
“ Having the boys back was a big boost, it provides competition for places which is what you want. We all push each other on. The boys returning obviously make a big difference, it goes without saying, with the quality they bring with them.”
O’Neill stated that the squad were desperate now to build up a head of steam and put behind them the difficulties from the early part of the season when they struggled for consistency.
“ The league is all go for the first month or two and then it grinds to a halt because of Tyrone in the summer. We hadn’t a game for eight or nine weeks, and had a lot of boys away, so you do lose momentum and then have to pick the whole thing up again.
“The summer is basically like pre-season again because the break is that long. It is really a matter of starting again. It is the same for most other clubs I’m sure.
“ Obviously now we have got everyone back and it is a matter of regrouping and looking to push on.”