TYRONE SFC: McNally ‘hands’ Coalisland second chance against Clonoe

Coalisland's Dan Fee tries to block Clonoe's Connor Hughes during Sunday Tyrone Senior Championship semi-final at Edendork.
Coalisland's Dan Fee tries to block Clonoe's Connor Hughes during Sunday Tyrone Senior Championship semi-final at Edendork.

Clonoe 0-10, Coalisland 0-10

A fisted point from Stephen McNally two minutes into injury time earned Coalisland a deserved second bite at the cherry as they denied near neighbours and fierce rivals, Clonoe, at Edendork on Sunday.

Clonoe's Conor McAliskey is taken down by the combined efforts of Coalisland's Jason Carberry and Shane Hughes.

Clonoe's Conor McAliskey is taken down by the combined efforts of Coalisland's Jason Carberry and Shane Hughes.

The quality of football may not have been the best, with only six of the 20 scores coming from play, but in terms of intensity and commitment neither set of players couldn’t be faulted in front of a crowd of around 6,000.

Moments before McNally’s equaliser, a mammoth Danny McNulty free looked like it would be the winning score but the Fianna deserve immense credit for fighting back considering they played most of the game with only 14 men.

Peter Donnelly was straight red carded by referee Brian McCallion following an incident with Daryl Magee after only 12 minutes. At that stage things were going according to plan for the wind assisted Fianna as they had built up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead thanks to points from Brian Toner, Cathaoir Quinn [2] and Dermot Thornton, McNulty on target for Clonoe.

Thornton then knocked over his second “45” of the game, a sublime effort from near the right touchline to leave them four in front at the end of the opening quarter.

Clonoe though began to make their extra man count with Magee and McNulty (2) converting frees and Aaron Elliot getting the game’s first score from play to leave it level pegging by the 21st minute. Coalisland though finished the half the stronger with further frees from Quinn and Thornton to leave them 0-7 to 0-5 in front at the interval. Things could well have been different for Clonoe had Coalisland keeper Johnny Curran not denied Connor McAliskey a goal with a brilliant save in the 27th minute.

Toner increased that advantage on the restart after exchanging passes with Plunkett Kane but a McNulty free kept Clonoe in touch before midfielder Declan McClure hit a superb score from distance to make it a one point game.

Quinn knocked over another free before Clonoe almost grabbed a goal in the 52nd minute when substitute Shane O’Hagan’s shot came back off the post although McNulty gathered to point the rebound.

With five minutes left, McAliskey finally got his name on the scoresheet with a beauty from distance and as tensions grew, both sides missed chances. Defender Michael McKernan was well wide for Coalisland while Magee was wide from what looked a straightforward 13m free. Two minutes into injury time McNulty landed an outstanding free from 47m but in the next attack the Fianna came straight down the field for McNally to fist the equaliser.

When the final whistle sounded both sides had survived to live another day.

Clonoe scorers – Danny McNulty 0-6, Declan McClure 0-1, Connor McAliskey 0-1, Aaron Elliot 0-1, Daryl Magee 0-1

Coalisland scorers – Cathaoir Quinn 0-4, Dermot Thornton 0-3, Brian Toner 0-2, Stephen McNally 0-1

Referee – Brian McCallion (Castlederg).