Good Display But Have Omagh Missed The Boat?
The good weather and an attractive double header drew a large crowd to Dunmoyle on Sunday afternoon last and the vast majority of those who were present will probably return for the replay at the weekend. Without doubt this game was the best and most entertaining match so far in the Power NI Senior championship and served up a real cracker as both teams showed considerable spirit, resolve and commitment before finishing all square at the end. The game ebbed and flowed as first one side and then the other dominated but throughout it all the crowd were kept entertained and on their toes ensuring that no one left before the final whistle.
Pre game favourites Clonoe showed exactly why they are sitting close to the top of the table with a fabulous start that saw them establish a seven point lead within the opening thirteen minutes. Conor Mc Aliskey and Danny Mc Nulty caused mayhem for the Omagh defence with their pace and movement and such was the ferocity of their start that it looked as if the game could have been over by half time. However in spite of their fine opening the O’Rahillys will be concerned at how they failed to score when playing wind assisted for the remainder of the half. Omagh looked all at sea early on but one or two switches and they finally got to terms with their opponents and showed tremendous heart to hit six unanswered points in the final twelve minutes of the half.
The two sides produced moments of magic in the second half and the game really could have gone either way but with Clonoe down to fourteen men following Shane O’Hagan’s second yellow card and Omagh playing with the aid of a very strong breeze the general consensus was that St Endas had the better chances to win the game. Three late opportunities went abegging as Clonoe struggled to close down the spaces created by their opponents. Joe Mc Mahon opted to hit a free from the hands that seemed ideally suited to his place kicking skills, Conor O’Donnell chose the wrong option when Cathal Mc Carron was better placed while Mc Carron himself also spurned the chance to win the game.
Overall perhaps a draw was a fair result but you got the feeling that Clonoe will come away from this one feeling they got out of jail somewhat and will be a different side next time out. The big question for Liam Grugan and his Omagh side is have they missed the boat? Will they rue those late missed chances when they seemed to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory?
St Endas went into the game as underdogs but showed enough to suggest they are capable of causing an upset. However underdogs generally only get one bite at the cherry and find it hard to produce two huge displays in a row. If Omagh are to beat Clonoe a display similar to Sunday’s will not be good enough. They have to improve and show greater consistency while at the same time hope that Clonoe struggle to find their real championship form. The chances of all those things happening seem slim and Omagh could well find that in spite of their heroics on Sunday last it is Clonoe who will march on to face Errigal Ciaran in the last eight.