With a place in the final at stake very few people were expecting a game of open and exciting
football between Coalisland and Kildress. There were lots of talented footballers on view but the
game failed to really ignite and it was over as a contest fifteen minutes into the second half.
Kildress had started with a real sense of purpose opening the score after twenty five seconds when
centre back Fran Loughran stormed upfield. The opening five minutes were the most exciting of
the game as both sides traded scores and Coalisland moved into the lead when Paddy Mc Niece
goaled direct from a sideline ball following indecision in the Kildress defence. In fairness to Kildress
they played the better football during the remainder of the half and went into the break a point up.
However they will be disappointed not to have been further ahead as they bossed possession during
the opening period. Unfortunately for The Tones they played far too much lateral football while they
were on top going across the field when a more direct approach to Frank Mc Gurk and Paul O’Neill
might have proven more productive.
As we have seen in recent games, substitutions can prove decisive to results and so it was on
Saturday as Damien O’Hagan sprang Peter Mc Gahan from the bench. The big midfielder had a huge
second half and his ability to win clean ball from kick outs set his side on the way to victory. The
introduction of Tiernan O’Hagan also proved decisive as the Fianna forward set up his side’s third
goal with his first touch. This score sealed the result and ensured that Coalisland became the first
side through to the senior final for 2010.
It was interesting to watch The Fianna and how they responded to the result. There was no over
celebrating or back slapping as the men in blue warmed down at the end. Indeed their second half
display showed a more mature approach to their game as they produced a very cohesive team
performance that turned a difficult situation into a very convincing win. Much of their best play
originated in their half back line as Mc Nally and O’Farrell broke up most of The Tones’ best work
and turned defence into attack at every opportunity. Wing half back O’Farrell scored one of the
points of the day showing he is back to his best and with himself and his team mates in a rich vein of
form they will fancy their chances of atoning for their 2007 failure.