There was controversy in Dunmoyle last night as Omagh advanced to meet Errigal Ciaran in the quarter-finals of the Tyrone Senior Football Championship with a nailbiting win over Clonoe, writes Seamus Donnelly.
The game looked to be heading for extra time when referee in the sixth minute of injury time awarded Clonoe a 21 metre free after a foul on Paul Coney.
However, after a short fracas, referee Jerome McElroy sent Omagh’s Conor Starr and Joe McMahon off - perhaps most importantly overturned the Clonoe free, awarding a hop ball.
As the gloom descended on Dunmoyle it had been difficult to see just what had happened during the mélee but Clonoe will undoubtedly feel aggrieved to have been on the receiving end of the decision.
The O’Rahilly’s appeared to be in control of the game for long period leading up until the 47th minute of the game but Omagh dug deep to take the lead and hold on for victory.
Damian Cassidy’s side will today be rueing to missed goal chances early in the second half that would surely have seen them out of sight for the St Enda’s but Ryan Rambo O’Neill could only fire wide and Danny McNulty’s fisted effort rattled the post.
Clonoe as with the first encounter between the teams got off to a flying start and opened up a four point lead in the opening 15 minutes.
Colm Doris was the first to open the scoring with a fine effort from all of 45 metres after he had caught a Kerill Winters kickout.
The lively Paul Coney’s direct running was causing problems for Omagh and he set up Ryan Rambo O’Neill for a seventh minute point from play.
The Clonoe lead was soon stretched to four as Conor McAliskey and Ryan T O’Neill made no mistake with efforts from play to stretch the O’Rahilly’s lead.
Clonoe dominated the opening 15 minutes at midfield but Omagh were beginning to find their way into the game even if their shooting attempts at time left a lot to be desired.
Seven first half wides hindered the St Enda’s efforts although great credit must be given to the Clonoe defence who defended resolutely in this period.
Conan Grugan did open the St Enda’s account with a straight forward free after a foul on Jason McAnullla.
Stephen McNulty was everywhere for Clonoe on the night and he stretched their lead back to four points as the first half hit the 20th minute mark with a great effort from play.
Omagh dominated the last 10 minutes of the half but just couldn’t register the scores their possession indicated they might get.
Shane O’Neill eventually got his sides first from play and this was followed up as the half drew to a close by a fisted point from Barry Tierney
Clonoe began the second half fantastically well but they spurned a number of glorious goal chances in the process
First Ryan R O’Neill blazed wide after his excellent run had taken him right through the heart of the Omagh defence.
Seconds later Danny McNulty couldn’t convert a half chance after Conor McAliskey had teed him up, McNulty’s punch coming back of the post.
Patrick Doris did register from play but Omagh were soon on the offensive.
Grugan pointed from a free before a quick scoring blitz from the St Enda’s got them back into the game.
Patrick Doherty, Martin Flanagan and Conor O’Donnell kicked three points in as many minutes as the half hit the half way stage to give Omagh the lead for the first time.
Blood injuries to Stephen McNulty and Ryan R O’Neill as well as a hamstring injury for Ryan T O’Neill severely upset the O’Rahillys’ play.
The sides traded scores, first from Grugan and then McAliskey as the game entered the last 10 minutes.
Grugan was fantastic for Omagh and he got his side’s 10th point to leave them two in the lead before Paul Coney and McAliskey narrowed the gap to the minimum.
With six minutes of added time awarded Clonoe looked like they might snatch an unlikely draw but a late free was overturned and Omagh just about hung on.
They may have to do without Joe McMahon and Conor Starrs who were sent off as was Clonoe centre back Shane Coney in the late scuffle.
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Weather for Dungannon
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 6 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
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Wind direction: North