By Brendan McTaggart
Dromore captain Peter Teague said during his acceptance speech, most men the day after their wedding would be laying in bed the next day. Some might even have jetted off on their honeymoon. For Paddy Montague, there was only one place he wanted to be. The Dromore manager watched his side lift the Paddy McLarnon Cup just over 24 hours after saying ‘I do’ to Rebecca O’Brien and his side gave him a more than decent wedding present.
Teague continued to praise Montague during his speech while the Dromore manager was equally praiseworthy of his side, especially their second half performance: “We battled hard there in the second half. The first half and with the breeze I felt we probably should have been further ahead. I didn’t feel comfortable at half time to be honest, I felt we weren’t far enough ahead.
“There was a few mistakes in the first half but the boys came out in the second half and the tackling was brilliant. We kept it tight and got tackles in when we could.
“We got the rub of the green with a lucky enough goal that kept Carryduff at arm’s length.”
During their semi-final win over Magherafelt, Dromore started slowly but dominated the second half to cruise to the decider. On Sunday, it was more of the same. Their second half performance was controlled and precise with a dominant performance built on a solid defence. Montague added: “I spoke to the boys before the game, we needed a better start. With that wind we needed a lead but look the boys came out in the second half and they really put their shoulder to the wheel.
“They kept control of the ball when they had and moved it when we had to. We got our tackles in and I thought our full back (Ruairi Teague) and centre half Ryan McCusker were very good.
“The boys worked seriously hard in around the middle of the field. Carryduff’s a serious good midfield but our boys got the breaks and were able to build from then.
“We told them if we got ahead, we had to remain patient. Control the game and don’t panic. That wind was tricky and at half time I wasn’t sure who the wind was favouring.”
Dromore held just a one point lead at the interval and although not happy with their first half performance, Montague had belief in his side to get over the line: “We said at half time the wind wasn’t a massive advantage to Carryduff. If we kept the ball and made the tackles, not make as many mistakes and keep chipping away with the scores then we wouldn’t be far away and thankfully we won.
“We trust all them players, they’re all good footballers and they all have trust in themselves. You seen out there today, they played ball, took hits and gave hits when they had to, and we couldn’t have asked any more of them out there today.”
2018’s Paddy McLarnon Cup winners Gaoth Dobhair kicked on to win senior county and provincial honours. The U21 tournament proving to be a catalyst for an unbelievable season and while Montague is hoping for a resurgence in the Tyrone club, he sees a different outlook for his side: “We won’t be looking too much into Gaoth Dobhair from last year. Our job or our priority is getting these boys into championship footballers for Dromore. Not to be content with playing the odd starred fixture here or there or odd league game.
“If we can get 30 or 35 boys with that mindset who want to start on the big days in Carrickmore, Pomeroy and them places, we’ll need all them boys buying into that and then we’ll be in a good place.
“I’m a very proud Dromore man. That’s the first time an Ulster title has ever been won by a men’s team from Dromore so we’re very happy and looking forward to a good night in Dromore.”