Council Chair hosts a reception for Tyrone GAA Masters

14th March 2023

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Fellow Councillors, ladies and gentlemen

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all here to The Grange, Omagh this evening for this reception in honour of the Tyrone Masters All Ireland Champions.

The road to the All Ireland Masters Final began with an away game against Down, and although Down started brightly, you kept your nerve and emerged as winners.

The next match was against Cavan in Clogher which you won convincingly with an inspirational performance by Ollie McCreesh.  The third game was against Dublin away and the strength of the team and the desire to succeed shone through and you won the match with an 8 point lead.

Further victories over Antrim in Portglenone and Louth on the home ground in Garvaghey set up the final game against Donegal with both teams level on points at the top of the table.

Donegal started out strong at home before Olie McCreesh for the team off the mark.  Further points from McCreesh, Martin Grimes and Ryan McCallion brought both teams level at half time.

You came out strong in the second half, however, Donegal levelled the score again.  With excellent teamwork and determination you fought back with four unanswered points.  Donegal were as equally determined and closed the gap again to 1 point, however, up stepped Carl McCabe to score and the match ended with a 2 point lead with victory to Tyrone and you topped the table with 12 points.

The victory set up a semi-final match against Clare.  You had a comfortable start to the game taking a 1-07 to 0 lead with 3 points and a goal from Martin Grimes and further points by Ryan McCallion, Ollie McCreesh and Damien McDevitt.

Clare came out determined at the start of the second half, however, you reclaimed dominance in the final quarter to win 1-15 to 0-6 and earned your well deserved place in the final.

The final saw you take on Dublin once again on Saturday 10 September 2022 in Balinagh, Co Cavan.

Dublin started strongly, however, once again, Ollie McCreesh got Tyrone off the mark and the score was level at 0-3 each.  Dublin edged back, however, a brace by Stephen O’Neill gave you a 0-6 to 0-4 lead at half time.

O’Neill was on the scoreboard again at the start of the second half, however, Dublin fought back to close the gap to 1 point.  Further points from McCreesh and Marty McGrath gave Tyrone a 0-9 to 0-6 lead again.

By the end of the third quarter, the scores were all square.  With scores from Grimes and O’Neill, the match was level at 1-08 and extra time beckoned.  You kept your cool and with victory within touching distance, up stepped O’Neill and John McMullan to score with the match ending 0-13 to 1-09 and victory to Tyrone.

This victory saw you retain the title for the second year in a row  a feat which had not been achieved before.

Team sports require commitment to training, good communication on the pitch, team work and strong and inspirational leadership both on and off the pitch,  This team certainly showed these qualities in abundance to achieve success throughout the competition.

On behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and on my own behalf, I would like to commend each and every player for your dedication to attend training and matches, your skills and your team ethic.  It is not always easy to be able to commit so much time alongside your work and family commitments.

I would also like to commend Captain, Conor Gormely, and Manager, Joe Leonard, for your leadership and inspiration on and off the pitch to encourage the team and create that desire to achieve.

In closing I would like to congratulate each of you on your All Ireland success.  You have done yourselves, your families, your County and your District proud and I wish you every success for the future as you no doubt aim for 3 in a row!

Thank you.