MID Tyrone’s men’s team know they face a tough task on Saturday as they aim to annex the Boomer Cup title for the first time ever, but they aren’t short of confidence ahead of their clash with reigning champions, Oriel.
The title-holders seem to have become accustomed to winning the coveted All-Ireland indoor bowls crown, having claimed it in each of the last two years, as well as achieving a double in 2014 and 2015, after first winning it back in 2005.
Mid Tyrone may not have had any such success, they are hoping that a victory in Clontibret this weekend could spark a run of victories like Oriel have enjoyed since their maiden title win.
And the team, managed by Marcus Rutledge, is certainly not lacking in confidence, despite not having been in the final for around 14 years, after seeing off Meath 94-31 in round one, North West 56-45 in the last-eight and one of the tournament favourites, Armagh 55-44 in the semi-finals.
While they had the luxury of playing at home in each of the previous three rounds, they will be venturing into the lion’s den this weekend as they take on Oriel near their home patch in Monaghan. But that won’t phase the Mid Tyrone men, who have made one change to the side that ousted Armagh with Harry Wilson coming in to replace Rodney Cunningham, who is unavailable.
“The boys are up for it and have put in a good run,” Marcus observed.
“Oriel are the team to beat and it’s in Clontibret, which isn’t far from their home patch, which might favour them a wee bit because they play more bowls down around that part of the country.
“It would mean a lot for the boys to win the Boomer Cup and they are all up for winning it. They’ll be disappointed if they don’t win it, but from what they are all saying, we have a good shot at winning it.
“We have no shortage of experience, boys playing for Ireland over the last few years, so it should be a good game and there will be some noise and there will be some celebration if we win!”
The Mid Tyrone team for Saturday’s final in Clontibret, which will start at 2pm, is as follows: S Browne, D Doherty, R Foster, S McSorley, H Wilson, W Boggs (all Ardstraw); A Sproule, Castlederg Meth; R Glass, W McLean, A Millar, A Shortt, C Shortt, S Shortt, T Vance (all Clogherney); F Boyle, P Turbitt (both Errigal), R Cunningham, A Howard (both Mayne), G Conroy, D McCrory, M McKim, G McNabb (all Fintona Pearses); G Armstrong, D Rutledge, J Rutledge, M Rutledge and N Rutledge (all Sixmilecross).
Oriel squad: Conor Mackin, Michael Hand, Gerry McCabe, Niall Hand, John Murnaghan, Shane Hand, Kieran Trainor, Noel Mackin, Micheál Savage, John McMahon, Paddy Hanlon, Sean Trainor, Ronan Hanlon, Paul Duff, Sean Trainor, Thomas Martin, Stephen McMahon, Aidan Conroy, Diarmuid McMahon, Fra Dillon, Jason Hand, Sean Conroy, Jim Fox, Seamus McParland.