Ardboe avenged last year’s championship exit with a fully merited victory over Omagh in Galbally on Saturday afternoon.
Ardboe bossed the opening first half. Too much lateral passing and rigid defensive formations meant scores were at a premium and the victors led 5-2 at the break.
The second period was a much more entertaining spectacle. The introduction of Conor Meyler had given Omagh a much needed boost but Ardboe maintained their dominance with Gopower man of the match Shea O’Hare opening the scoring followed by goalkeeper Conall Quinn’s second long range free left Ardboe in a comfortable position. Omagh were thrown a lifeline when Shay McGuigan picked up a second yellow card in the 42nd minute.
Points from Grugan and Damian McGuigan reduced the deficit. Oisin Devlin then denied Jason McAnulla with a timely block. The game’s first goal arrived with ten minutes remaining, Jack Martin cleverly flicked Quinn’s kick out to Cormac Devlin, who fed Shea O’Hare to fire home.
Omagh responded with a Callum Daly point and wonderful individual goal by Conor Meyler, bringing the St Endas right back into it. Shea O’Hare steadied Ardboe nerves with a fine strike, and with Oran Mulgrew and Cormac Devlin controlling the final minutes they ran out two point winners.