TROUBLE AT T'MILL

There is little doubt it has been a very difficult season for Sion Mills. Before the campaign got under way, the North West Union had taken a vote among its members which decided that if the Tyrone side were to win a play-off against the bottom team in the Championship then they themselves would have to finish in the top two in Qualifying Division 1.

The reality is that the point was moot. As far as Sion were concerned the season was all about survival, and trying everything they could to keep their club afloat.

Having just completed their 154th season there are few older clubs in Ireland than this one. With 29 senior cup successes (7 more than Donemana) and 27 league titles, Sion also remain the North West's most successful in terms of trophies.

And yet it is looking increasingly unlikely that there will be a 155th campaign in 2019.

Team captain and club stalwart Simon Galloway cut a dejected figure at the weekend after his side struggled to get a team together for the ultimately rained-off game against Donemana on Saturday.

Galloway has been instrumental in keeping things going over the past number of seasons and members are well aware that they would already have been long-gone without him.

The keeper/batsman however is now facing up to the reality that his side may have played their last competitive game at the 'wee Holm'.

"It has been a massive struggle for the past number of seasons and it is getting more difficult every year. We lost five senior players in the past 18 months and we don't have a structure that allows us to build to replace them."

"The ownership of the ground remains the main problem- we just don't have the security to plan ahead or to create an environment to bring through new players."

"We've kept going this long because we saw ourselves almost as custodians of this wonderful club history. The reality however is that we're hanging on by our fingernails. Most weeks this season we were working off a regular quota of 7 or 8 players for every game and trying to fill it out after that."

"We're fighting a losing battle. We won't make any hasty decisions until well into the close season so as to give ourselves time to think things through fully and taking the emotion out of it."

"We're desperately hoping that something will change because as of now we are definitely on the brink."

While it would be terrible to see a club like Sion Mills fold, there really is no hiding the fact that they are now facing a huge battle for survival.