One is a former Tyrone star while the other played in this year’s u20 team.
Two forwards, who went head to head today in the Tyrone senior club championship, lit up the place in a compelling game that also gave the county team some hope for next season.
Clonoe beat Donaghmore 1-09 to 0-10 in a thrilling quarter-final that had just about everything football could throw at you.
Former inter-county star Connor McAliskey led the line for Clonoe, and had been on firing form coming into this match, kicking seven points in his last outing, to then get on the scoresheet early in this game.
However, he was well contained for the rest of the half and a black card 30 minutes in curtailed his impact on this part of the match.
With his side already a man down following Jerome McClure’s straight red card, McAliskey returned to the fray in defiant form and took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Despite the numerical disadvantage and the fact they were trailing, the flying forward pulled the strings from the second he returned to the pitch.
After kicking some vital frees and another point from play, it was his link -up play that was most impressive, utilising some lovely kick passes that resulted in crucial scores.
When substitute Danny McClure got the only goal of the game, Clonoe went in front and managed to hold on in time to secure an incredible victory against the odds.
The first man back when they didn’t have possession was McAliskey, as he worked his socks off to ensure that his club would make the semi-final stages.
Even on the days when the game doesn’t really open up for you and you’re not kicking scores for fun, the ex-Tyrone man proved that a forward’s impact on a match shouldn’t only be limited to points.
The former county star left the Tyrone panel before the league finished last year, due to a lack of game time under the new managers Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan.
However, with his very particular skillset, and the fact that Tyrone have lost many other forwards since then, including Ronan O’Neill, Mark Bradley, Lee Brennan and now potentially Conor McKenna, the Clonoe man might find his way back into the team yet.
Another promising performance from a Tyrone perspective was that of Conor Cush, the Donaghmore corner forward was in devastating form today.
Son of former Tyrone star Adrian Cush, and a key member of the u20 team that secured this year’s All-Ireland title, the young sharp shooter was leading the line today with great maturity.
Not only did he kick five wonderful points, but his speed, power and ability to win the ball out in front made him a real handful for Clonoe to deal with.
Man-marked by Jerome McClure, the silky scorer was winning the battle comfortably early on, and such was the frustration of his marker, an incident of over zealous-behaviour resulted in the defender receiving a straight red card.
Late on in the game, Cush made a fantastic fetch, rising up above everyone, and attacked the space which opened up in front of him until the referee, rather prematurely, pulled it back for a free in his favour.
Both McAliskey and Cush are in different stages of their careers, but with Tyrone looking to bolster a squad that had so many leaks and gaps last season, these are two lads who could be in contention.
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