A DOMINANT first half performance provided Newtownstewart with the cushion that they needed to withstand a determined Beragh comeback during the closing stages of this Junior Championship final at Healy Park last night (Sunday) as they sealed a 1-10 to 1-12 victory.
The St Eugene’s led throughout the game, but they had to endure some anxious moments towards the finish as the Red Knights battled back to within two points. Ultimately, though, the composure of Kevin Gallagher and the attacking prowess of Ryan Mayse proved decisive.
Newtown can now look forward to Intermediate football in 2019 following a fourth Junior success. For Beragh, there is the consolation of attempting to retrieve their season through the league play-offs during the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, Killyclogher and Coalisland both sealed their places in the Senior decider after seeing off the challenges of Ardboe and Edendork respectively.
Killyclogher’s championship hopes were on life support but they staged a miraculous recovery against Ardboe on Sunday to advance from an slow-burning semi-final encounter at Carrickmore.
Lazarus has nothing on this bunch of players. Killyclogher were a distinct second best for much of the second-half while Kyle Coney sauntered around like he owned the joint, but Dominic Corrigan’s men (almost) never looked back after an opportunist goal from Conall McCann as the clock ticked into injury time.
Killyclogher still required extra-time to seal the deal but they did so in jaw-dropping fashion, fashioning some sublime team scores when they really should have been reaching for the oxygen tank.
Their achievement is all the more noteworthy considering they effectively did it without Mark Bradley, who was forced off with injury with a quarter of the game remaining.
Coalisland also encountered choppy waters in their semi-final as battling Edendork made light of their underdogs tag to hand the Fianna an almighty
Trailing by three points as the match headed into the final ten minutes, the Blues sent out the distress signals and belatedly their SOS request was answered, a late scoring spree ensuring that they fended off St Malachy’s right at the death.
With captain Stephen McNally spearheading the charge, assisted by Padriag Hampsey and Plunkett Kane, Coalisland recaptured their dynamic form of recent weeks in the final ten minutes, reeling off five points on the spin.
It was harsh on Edendork and they will probably be left pondering what the outcome might have been if county goalie Niall Morgan, who was having an immense game out the field, hadn’t been black carded in the 50th minute.
Meanwhile, in the Intermediate semi-finals, reigning Junior champions Tattyreagh booked their place in the decider after seeing off Gortin by 0-11 to 1-7 and Augher defeated Stewartstown 3-15 to 2-8.
FULL COVERAGE IN TODAY’S TYRONE HERALD