GAA: Trillick stun Coalisland to take county final place

Trillick's Mattie Donnelly gets ahead of Coalisland's Stephen McNally. INTT4015-708DCA
Trillick's Mattie Donnelly gets ahead of Coalisland's Stephen McNally. INTT4015-708DCA

Trillick 0-13 Coalisland 0-5

Trillick progressed to their first senior county final since 1987 with a stunning performance on Sunday in Pomeroy.

The St Macartans were thoroughly deserving of their win, causing Coalisland problems from first minute to last.

Trillick's Niall Donnelly grabs a hold of Coalisland's Brian Toner. INTT4015-710DCA

Trillick's Niall Donnelly grabs a hold of Coalisland's Brian Toner. INTT4015-710DCA

While Trillick’s big players, Mattie Donnelly, Ruairi Kelly and Rory Brennan stood up and dictated the play, Coalisland’s players appeared to be waiting for someone else to inspire them.

That inspiration never arrived however, as the Fianna, trying to chase the game, were frustrated and picked off on the break time after time.

The Fianna’s discipline began to slide. Stephen McNally received a straight red card for what appeared an innocuous enough strike, while Paddy McNeice saw a black card.

As Shane Meehan brought the game to a close Trillick’s players were jubilant, Coalisland’s clearly shell-shocked.

Paddy McNiece tries to shake off Ruairi Kelly. INTT4015-709DCA

Paddy McNiece tries to shake off Ruairi Kelly. INTT4015-709DCA

Niall Gormley opened the scoring for the Reds after 40 seconds, Niall Gormley turning and swinging over a beautiful effort.

The Fianna responded from the next kick-out Conor Bayne and Plunkett Kane combining to set up Dermot Thornton for a brilliant score.

Trillick’s running game was causing Coalisland lots of problems but for much of the first half it looked like they mightn’t have been ruthless enough in front of goals.

They did move four ahead after 16 minutes, but it could and should have been more.

A foul on Mattie Donnelly allowed Lee Brennan to slot over a free, before Daire Gallagher added a point as his side moved clear. Brennan added two more, one from a free and one from play, as Trillick made much the better start.

Paddy McNeice scored a well taken point for Coalisland after 18 minutes but the alarm bells were already ringing on the Fianna sideline as they called Shane Hughes ashore to be replaced by Dan Fee.

Mattie Donnelly and Rory Brennan combined for the next Trillick point before Paddy McNeice responded with a pointed free from distance.

Trillick had the final say of the half, Lee Brennan kicking a free in injury time, to leave his side four ahead at the break.

While many in Plunkett Park would have expected a fierce start from Coalisland at the restart, it never really materialised, the best chance in the opening exchanges of the second half saw Mattie Donnelly draw an excellent save from Jonny Curran.

Trillick kicked the next two scores in the 38th and 40th minutes, Lee Brennan from a free and then the excellent Mattie Donnelly was on target.

Dermot Thornton responded for Coalisland but his side were in trouble. Things went from bad to worse for the blues when Stephen McNally saw a straight red card as he appeared to make contact with Trillick’s Sean Kelly.

Mattie Donnelly added a point from play, before Paddy McNeice was issued with a black card for a late hit on the Trillick attacker.

Coalisland threw Peter McGahan into the edge of the square and pushed more men forward in search of the scores they would need to get back into the game, but Trillick defended well and counter-attacked at pace.

Dermot Thornton would add points for Coalisland but each of his efforts were cancelled out by Trillick, Lee Brennan, Mattie Donnelly and then Shane Gormley kicking the points that sealed Trillick’s place in the county final.

Coalisland had late goal chances but Joe Maguire made some excellent saves to seal the win.

It’s a rapid rise for Trillick who only reached senior football having come through a promotion play-off at the end of last season.