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End of season tonic

A FAIRLY regular run of senior league triumphs in the past two decades have often provided a platform towards greater glories in the championship for Dromore.

Now a new group of St Dympna’s players are preparing for this today’s final clash against Errigal Ciaran. A victory would represent a significant boost, but reaching the decider is a positive for the end 2019 no matter what the result.

Under the management of Colm McCullagh, they have bounced back impressively from the championship exit at the hands of Trillick. It means that they will be in reasonably buoyant form ahead of this latest showpiece decider.

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“It’s the end of the season, but to go to Clonoe on Sunday last and get the win was very important for this group of players,” said the former club and county attacking star.

“Obviously our championship performance was very disappointing. There have been a lot of questions asked of the players during the past few months and in fairness they’ve bounced back.

“You have to give them credit for the way that the lads have done that. We got a couple of league wins and to then come and win the semi-final is a good boost.

“This is a young Dromore team and there’s definitely been a lot of changes in the past few seasons. A lot of the older players like myself who were playing have moved on and there’s a different influx of players now.

“Maybe a few of the past lads who are still involved, but overall the overhaul has been fairly extensive. Winning the semi-final was a good step in the right direction for a largely young team.”

Going up to Clonoe and recording the win was important and sets up an intriguing final clash against an Errigal Ciaran side seeking a third consecutive league triumph.

They defeated Coalisland in the second semi-final to recover strongly from their county final defeat of last month.

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Unsurprisingly, then, Colm McCullagh and the Dromore players are well aware of the challenge facing them in this final as they seek to win back the title last captured by the club earlier this decade.

“We play football to take part in as many finals as you can and compete in them,” he added.

“Errigal have won the last two league titles so of course we’re going to be up against it. But it’s another step on the ladder for these lads and we’ll definitely be giving it our all in the final.

“They are going to be a stern test and it’s good to have this kind of game at the end of the year.

“Dromore teams over the years, ourselves included, competed in a lot of leagues before we ever got a championship.

“If you can win any trophy at the end of the year, then it’s good because ultimately that’s why we’re involved at this level.

“We’ve had plenty of battles with Clonoe over the years and it was good for the team to get the win and reach the final.

“They were putting pressure on us and there was nothing else to be expected considering that they were on their own patch.

“But the good thing was that we dealt with that pressure, the goalie made a good save from the penalty and that kept us with a bit of advantage.”

Fintona, then, will be the place to be this afternoon for a game which pits the seasoned campaigners from Errigal against a Dromore St Dympna’s side which will hoping that a victory provided a platform for future progress in 2020 and beyond.

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