TRILLICK are hoping to reach their second Ulster Senior semi-final in five years when they make the short trip to Brewster Park to face Derrygonnelly Harps this afternoon.
The St Macartan’s club followed their 2015 county triumph with a win over Naomh Conaill and a narrow defeat to Scotstown. They will aim to go at least one step further this year and improve Tyrone’s recent standing in the competition in the process.
Omagh, in 2014, were the last Red Hand side to reach the provincial final while it’s 17 years since a Tyrone club actually lifted the Seamus McFerran Cup with Errigal Ciaran triumphing in 2002.
Only for a boardroom decision some 86 years ago, these sides would have likely been meeting year in, year out. Back in 1933, the Ulster Council rejected a claim of jurisdiction from Fermanagh over the club and instead ruled that Tyrone had that right.
Such tidbits add extra subplots to today’s clash but Trillick coach Conor Daly has played down any talk of it being a derby fixture.
“Some of our guys have been taught in St Michael’s so that brings it a bit more to it,” he said.
“Kilskeery is a unique parish with Trillick and Coa in it with the two different clubs there. Most Sundays I go to mass in Coa at 9.30am.
“It’s not a derby though against Derrygonnelly, it’s just two teams that know each other very well.
“Both sides seem to be involved in very entertaining games so everyone is looking forward to it.”
Trillick will be hoping to build on that promising trip into Ulster five years ago.
Their first Ulster Club tie in 29 years saw them defeat Naomh Conaill 2-9 to 1-11 with Niall Gormley and
Daire Gallagher grabbing their goals. That set up a semi-final meeting with an experienced Scotstown outfit and although they again hit two goals, Gormley and Daniel McDonnell on target, they lost out by two points.
“I wouldn’t say it feels any different, it’s just as exciting,” Daly said of the build-up this time around.
“Any time that you’re training at Hallowe’en for knock-out football it is fantastic.
“That 2015 season, it had been a long time since Trillick had won the championship and the novelty factor was about, maybe a giddiness.
“They had a good run, they went down and beat a very good Donegal team in Ballybofey and then they were very unlucky against Scotstown. We’re really looking forward to it again this year, we’re on a great run of form and we beat some serious teams in Tyrone.”
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S ULSTER HERALD