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Late McAleer free sends euphoric Gortin into the final

LCC Group Tyrone Intermediate Championship semi-final

Gortin 1-17

Greencastle 1-16

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IT all came down to this. Sean Og McAleer had the opportunity to send Gortin into the Intermediate Championship final in the dying embers of extra-time, and he held his nerve superbly on yet another awesome advertisement of all that is good about Tyrone football.

From all of 40 yards and an unfavourable angle, the talented young forward found his range like it was just another free-kick, and it turned out to be the final play of a rollercoaster contest between these two great rivals.

There was more than a place in the final at stake; Gortin had lost by a point to Greencastle in last year’s quarter-finals, and the emotion etched on the faces of some of their older players after the game gave a telling glimpse into the significance of this particular contest.

In truth, neither team deserved to lose, and that’s said with the utmost sincerity. Greencastle showed incredible character to send the game into extra-time in the first place, with Mark Carson scoring a dramatic last-ditch goal moments before referee Cathal Forbes signalled for full-time.

And they had their chance of nicking the contest in extra-time as well, but Cahir McCullagh’s free with penalties on the horizon sailed harmlessly wide, and a minute later Sean Og McAleer did the business down the other end – c’est la vie.

McCullagh’s colleagues will know that he contributed massively to the Greencastle cause, scoring nine points, seven of which were from play, while Gortin sharpshooter Eoghan McGarvey wasn’t far behind, contributing six points from open play. This wasn’t the war of attrition that some people anticipated; but a real feast of football just as appetising as anything we’ve seen in this year’s championship to date.

Buy tomorrow’s Tyrone Herald for a full match report from today’s semi-final clash between Gortin and Greencastle

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