Coalisland justified their favourites tag with an impressive second half display to run out emphatic eleven point winners over Omagh at Father Campbell Park yesterday afternoon to reach the league final, writes Kevin Kelly.
The Fianna went into the game boasting a perfect one hundred percent record in league football in 2012 and in truth it never looked to be in any danger. After both sides had shared the opening half a dozen points the hosts went on to establish a 0-7 to 0-4 interval lead but in truth it should have been a lot more as they dominated in terms of possession.
Paddy McNiece was unavailable after pulling a hamstring at county trials on Wednesday night while on the other hand Omagh were boosted by the return from injury of Justin McMahon.
At no stage though did the St.Endas look like upsetting the odds and when Conor Clarke received his marching orders midway through the second half it was all over bar the shouting. Stephen Curran bagged an outstanding goal in the closing stages of the game as the Fianna made it through to a mouth watering final date with either Errigal Ciaran or Clonoe.
Best for the winners on the day were Peter Donnelly, Paddy O’Farrell, Stephen McNally, Plunkett Kane, Brian Toner and Eoghan Carberry while a disappointing Omagh side had good displays from Micheal Gallagher, Barry Tierney and Stephen Mullan.
Coalisland were out of the traps quickly and by the seventh minute they had established a 0-3 to 0-0 lead thanks to points from Jason Carberry, Brian Toner and Eoghan Carberry. Sixty seconds later county star Joe McMahon opened his side’s account with a well taken point before a Conan Grugan free reduced the deficit to the minimum but then the latter had to go off injured. Omagh substitute Shane O’Neill levelled matters from a place ball but by the 22nd minute Coalisland were ahead by double scores after Toner, Eoghan Carberry and Kane had all scored. The home side also had strong claims for a penalty when Gerard Toner was hauled to the ground after taking a good catch but it wasn’t given and the opening period came to an end with Jason McAnulla and Niall Fox trading points.
Left half back Stephen McNally collected a pass from Eoghan Carberry to open the second half scoring and after both sides missed chances a long range free from centre half forward Brian Toner left Coalisland five points to the good. In the 45th minute the visitors were reduced to fourteen men when Clarke was sent off after striking Coalisland full forward Tiarnan O’Hagan.
Omagh were already up against it but going down to fourteen men ended any hope that they had of mounting a serious comeback. Philip Toner and Cathal McCarron traded points before Johnny Curran converted a “45” for goal after Omagh keeper Niall McGinn had thwarted Eoghan Carberry.
With six minutes left to play McAnulla got Omagh’s last score but Coalisland weren’t finished yet. The impressive Kane pointed from forty metres out before substitute Stephen Curran gave keeper McGinn no chance with a thumping finish to the top right hand corner of the net. Coalisland were finishing the game in style and substitute Richard Thornton had the final say with a splendid effort from out on the left wing as they won with plenty to spare.