TYRONE INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
GALBALLY V POMEROY
Sunday, Healy Park, 4pm
GALBALLY captain Enda McGarrity says they have “wanted for nothing” down the years – so now seems to be the perfect moment to give this tight-knit local community something extra special to celebrate.
McGarrity was part of the Galbally team which won the Tyrone U21 Championship two years back, but the club as a whole has been starved of success with a solitary Junior title back in 1958 arguably the height of their achievements.
Their magnificent community centre, situated on club grounds, is bedecked in blue and white bunting ahead of Sunday’s Intermediate final against Pomeroy, and McGarrity hopes that they repay the faith of their selfless supporters this weekend.
“The football facilities are second to none. We’ve a state of art gym and four pitches, there’s food laid out for us and we want for nothing here. A lot of the lads feel like we have to pay back the volunteers in the club.
“We got to an Intermediate final in 2011 and won a few leagues but historically we’ve been starved of success.
“The older people in the community seem to be really excited about the fact we’re in the final, and it’d be great to go on and win it.”
The Pearses destroyed Strabane by 3-21 to 0-3 in the first-round, and it was a similar story against Aghyaran in the quarters, but they were brought back down to earth with a bump against Greencastle in the semi-finals.
It was a gripping, claustrophobic contest that Galbally edged by a single point, and while they were a bit understrength, they also drew their league match against Augher at the weekend.
It was their 15th competitive game of the season, and the first time they failed to win, so McGarrity knows that Sunday’s final against a fine Pomeroy team is by no means a done deal.
“The Greencastle game was a reality check and probably came at a good time for us. In fairness, Greencastle were brilliant and we probably didn’t play as well as we would have liked, and the draw at the weekend was another stark reminder about what will happen if we don’t play to our potential.
“We knew the Greencastle match could be a dog-fight, and we thought we’d be able to deal with it, but they just kept on coming and coming and we just about had the answer.”
The local primary school, St Joseph’s, is also getting into the swing of things ahead of the final and McGarrity, a trainee solicitor, says his younger brother Cillian can’t wait for the big day.
“The community’s really based around the football club, everyone seems to be involved. My wee brother is in P7 and he and his friends are all excited for the game, he’s football mad.”
Galbally edged their neighbours Pomeroy in last year’s Senior Championship, but the Plunketts have been there, done that and bought the t- shirt in the last few years.
They won a Tyrone and Ulster Intermediate Championship double three years ago, and also reached the senior semi-final in 2017.
“Pomeroy have a serious championship pedigree and everyone knows the quality of their county lads, but they’ve got other excellent players as well like Ryan Loughran.
“They’re going to be by far the toughest opposition we’ve met but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The transition between underage and senior level can be a difficult one, but the Pearses have managed it well and should make it back into Division One football next year one way or the other.
“We’ve been fairly lucky with lads not going away although we lost one of our best players.
“Christopher Morris is in America and we’d have loved to have him this week.
“We’ve still be lucky to hold onto most of our boys, and maybe more importantly we’ve not been wrecked by injuries this year.”