I suppose it had to end at some time but that will be of little comfort to the players and supporters of Aghyaran following their relegation today. After eleven years in the top division today’s one point loss to Kildress at Gortin means the St. Davog’s will be playing Intermediate Football in 2011. There has been very little between these sides over the years and their last two games showed just how little really separates them. Last week’s game went to extra time as did today’s but in the end it was Kildress who lived to fight another day and the Wolfe Tones can now look forward to a match with Intermediate playoff winners Moortown next weekend. Interestingly this will be a repeat of last year’s final playoff game which was won by Kildress but much has changed in a year and Moortown will really fancy their chances of gaining revenge.
Aghyaran will now take time to reflect and prepare for life outside senior football. They have enjoyed some great days in the top division since they gained promotion back in 1999. Back then they won the Intermediate league with a side backboned by four up and coming but very talented footballers. Owen Devine, Michael Anderson, Shane Sweeney and Martin Penrose have been to the fore of most of Aghyaran’s best displays during their time in Division One. They may have been relegated this year but it is worth pointing out that back in June they were within five minutes of dumping Ardboe out of the first round of the championship. On that particular day Martin Penrose produced an amazing display and almost single handed ran Ardboe ragged. Of course with his team now relegated there will be much speculation about where the county man may be playing his club football next year but that is a story for another day.
One of the biggest problems the border side face is that most of their underage teams are playing in the lower grades of competition and not enough young and talented players are coming through. To develop players to a higher standard requires time, effort, sacrifice and most importantly patience. If Aghyaran are to get back to the top in Tyrone again they need calm heads, proper planning and vision and of course good quality players. However with the state of the economy at present emigration could have a bigger effect on their chances of success than any of these other factors and St. Davog’s may not be only side to suffer because of that.