In the final month of our so called ‘summer season’, August provided a variety of intriguing sporting events.
We begin with Gaelic football, where the Tyrone Junior championships began in Eskra, with Fintona Pearses progressing to the quarter finals as they recorded a two point victory over rivals Drumragh Sarsfields. In the Tyrone ACL Paddy Crozier’s Omagh St Endas recorded a well-deserved 4 point victory over East Tyrone opponents Clonoe O’Rahillys. This Division 1 fixture was actually played in Clanabogan Park, home of Drumragh Sarsfields, as Healy Park pitch was under renovation after becoming victim of torrential downpours.
The highlight of the GAA month of course, was the eagerly awaited All Ireland semi-final between Tyrone and back to back All Ireland champions Dublin. Despite all the excitement, anticipation, and insight that preluded the match, it proved to be a one-sided affair, as Dublin sailed through comfortably to reach their 3rd consecutive final.
Moving on to football, and I was kindly invited by the Billy McNeill Celtic supporters club to attend a mid-week Champions league fixture at Parkhead between Celtic FC and Astana. A fabulous night it proved to be, with Celtic deservedly winning 5-0, after a string of great individual performances, and a fine exhibition of finishing from their players. There were no words to describe the adrenaline fuelling atmosphere displayed by the Celtic fans as they cheered their team on from start to finish.
With the Danske Bank Irish league 2017/2018 season well and truly underway, Glenavon FC took on Glentoran FC in a highly entertaining game at Mourneview Park. The game really got going in the second half, as Killyclogher striker Robbie McDaid came off the bench to score two late goals, in a move that seemed certain to give Alan Heavron’s side all three points, before new Glenavon signing, Joshua Daniels, made his own instant impact from the substitute bench, and rescued a point for the home side. A great start to their new club careers for both players.
With the Fermanagh and Western leagues also underway, Mercer champions Strathroy Harps, now under the new guidance of Shane Horisk, picked up where they left off in Division 1 with a 2-1 victory over Beragh Swifts, with goals coming from an Aidan McCaffrey penalty and a Benny Boyle header, both in the first half. Beragh pulled a goal back from a Craig Breen free kick but the Harps managed to see the game out, continuing their positive start to the season.
Finally in the Northern Ireland Women’s premier league Sion Swifts concluded their impressive season in the Women’s top flight with a thumping ten-nil victory over relegated Ballymena Sky Blues. A well-earned victory after what was a brilliant season for the Swifts, as they finished second place in the league, their highest ever position.
Congratulations once again too to all the teams and individuals who gained success in the last month! We can look forward to another great month of local sport ahead.