Tyrone clinched back-to-back Ulster Senior titles in 1995 and 1996 emulating what their predecessors had achieved away back in 1956 and 1957. Not since the great Derry sides of 1975 and 1976 had any other County in Ulster retained the Anglo Celt Cup so the Red Hand successes coming some two decades after the Oakleaf men was a huge matter for the Tyrone management duo of Art McRory and Eugene McKenna, their backroom team and all the players.
Tyrone opened their 1995 Ulster campaign on Sunday 4th June at Irvinestown with a 1-15 to 1-11 win over Fermanagh, they followed this up with a narrow 0-11 to 0-10 victory over Derry in the Ulster semi-final at Clones on Sunday 25th June. The final at Clones was played on Sunday 25th July with Cavan their opponents and the Red Hand men eased to a comfortable 2-13 to 0-10 win with Ciarán Corr proudly lifting the title just as his Coalisland counterparts Jody O’Neill and Eddie Devlin had done away back in 1956 and 1957.
The All-Ireland semi-final was played at Croke Park on Sunday 13th August against Galway and they defeated the Tribesmen by 1-13 to 0-13. Tyrone travelled to G.A.A. headquarters in a confident mood hoping to achieve what Down (1991), Donegal (1992), Derry (1993) and Down (1994) had all done in bringing Sam Maguire to the six counties in a period of Ulster dominance. Sadly, though the loss of key forward Adrian Cush in the build up to the final after he suffered ligament damage to his ankle robbed Tyrone of a gifted forward.
Dublin bidding for their first title since 1983 and had the likes of current manager Dessie Farrell, Jim Gavin, Jason Sherlock, Paul Clarke, Paul Curran, Keith Barr, Brian Stynes, Mick Deegan and the “darling of the hill” Charlie Redmond amongst their ranks! Charlie who scored the only goal that day was sent off by referee Paddy Russell but continued to stay on the field for several minutes actually contributing to a further Dublin attack prior to receiving his marching orders for a second time. Paddy Russell controversially denied Tyrone a late equalising point via the boot of Drumquin Wolfe Tones club player Sean McLaughlin stating that Peter Canavan had touched the ball on the ground whilst passing to McLaughlin!
In 1996, Tyrone opened their Ulster campaign on Sunday 9th June as they welcomed near neighbours Fermanagh to Healy Park, Omagh and they recorded a convincing 1-18 to 0-9 victory with Peter Canavan top scoring for the Red Hand men with 1-7 to his credit. In the semi-final played on Sunday 30th June at Clones against a fine Derry side who were strongly fancied for honours, the Red Hands again produced a fine performance to win 1-13 to 1-8. The win ensured a place in the provincial final for Tyrone against Down which was played on Sunday 30th July at Clones. Following a closely contested affair, Tyrone emerged 1-9 to 0-9 winners and a proud team captain Peter Canavan led the side to Ulster Senior Championship back-to-back titles.
Next up was an All-Ireland semi-final date against the Leinster Champions Meath as Tyrone attempted to redeem the happenings of 1995 against Dublin. On Sunday 18th August at Croke Park, the Red Hand side were beaten 2-15 to 0-12 on a day that most Red Hand Gael’s will want to forget. Apart from the defeat there were several Tyrone players who left the pitch badly bruised and several also bandaged such was the context of the game which many will say toughened future Red Hand teams and it’s a game that still widely talked about.
The result apart, nothing can take away from the fact that Tyrone achieved double wins in 1995 and 1996 and it’s great to see them being acknowledged by the Ulster Council having missed out owing to the ongoing Covid crisis in recent years.
The players who helped Tyrone achieve the historic success in 1995 and 1996 were as follows; Ciarán Corr (Coalisland), Finbar McConnell (Newtownstewart), Paul Devlin (Moortown), Chris Lawn (Moortown), Fay Devlin (Ardboe), Ronan McGarrity (Carrickmore), Seamus McCallan (Carrickmore), Sean McLaughlin (Drumquin), Feargal Logan (Stewartstown), Jody Gormley (Trillick), Pascal Canavan (Errigal Ciarán), Ciarán Loughran (Carrickmore), Ciarán McBride (Omagh), Peter Canavan ( Errigal Ciarán), Stephen Lawn (Moortown), Brian Gormley (Carrickmore), Paul Donnelly (Beragh), Mattie McGleenan (Eglish), Adrian Cush (Donaghmore), Damian Gormley (Trillick), Paddy Tally (Galbally), Gerard Cavlan (Dungannon), Joe Cassidy (Galbally), Danny Barr (Dungannon), Damian Loughran (Carrickmore), Adrian Nugent (Pomeroy), Stephen Conway (Loughmacrory), Brendan Mallon (Dungannon), Brian Dooher (Donagheady), Aidan Morris (Newtownstewart), Plunkett McCallan (Carrickmore), and Adrian Kilpatrick (Dungannon). The management team were Art McRory (Dungannon) and Eugene McKenna (Augher).
by Aodhán HarkinBy Rory Cox Tue 18th Apr