Tyrone Times Vox Pop

STUDENTS from local secondary schools have joined the campaign to find Tyrone's Greatest Person ever.

This week sixth form pupils from St Patrick's College in Dungannon voiced who they believe should be included on the list and why their nomination deserves to be crowned Tyrone's Greatest.

Rachael Mallon, 17, studies double award Health and Social Care with IT, selected John Dunlap. She said: "He was a famous printer from Strabane. He printed the first copies of the Declaration of the American Independence in 1776.

Rachael's fellow classmate, Aiobhe McGee, also 17, said that playwright and short-story writer Brian Friel is his winning choice. "Brian Friel was born in Omagh. He was the first playwright to have a series named after him and he received a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Times."

Helena Grimes, 18, is currently in her last year at school and studies double award Health and Social Care with Religious Studies. She believes that Hugh O'Neill should win the title.

"Hugh O'Neill was part of the Irish Chieftains who fought for Irish independence from Queen Elizabeth in 1601 at the Battle of Kinsale in Cork and he led the Flight of the Earls."

17-year-old Martin McCann, who studies double award Sport with ICT, selected sportsman Willie Anderson. "He was born in Sixmilecross in 1955 on April 3, and was the assistant coach of the Scottish National team and Leinster team and in one noticeable occasion, he led his team into a confrontation against the All Blacks while they were performing the 'Haka' - war dance."

Orlaith McKenna, 17, who studies double award Health and Social Care with Sociology picked Dungannon man Harry McGuigan. She said: "Harry established the Ren-Bu-Kan Judo club in 1968.

"The name of the club means 'place to practice the art of fighting'. The first home of the club was in Dungannon."

19-year-old Majella Campell, a classmate of Orlaith's, selected Fr Austin Eustace as her Tyrone's Greatest. "Fr Eustace founded Tyrone Crystal and helped community development in East Tyrone. He was also a Parish priest in Donaghmore."

Lower sixth pupil Conleth McGeary who studies Business Studies with Spanish and Sports Studies chose Owen Roe O'Neill.

He said: "He was an Irish King who founded the Kingdom of Tyrone and died in 1465, he is buried in Inishowen, Co Donegal."

Willie Anderson was born in 1955 in Sixmilecross and went on to become a rugby union coach and Ireland international.

As a lock he was capped 27 times for the national side between 1984 and 1990, some of which as captain.

In one notable appearance as captain against the All Blacks, Anderson led his side into a confrontation with their opponents whilst they were performing the haka.

After retiring he became assistant coach of Leinster and later the Scottish national team.

Following a spell as a full-time PE teacher and rugby coach at Sullivan Upper School, Anderson was appointed head coach of Rainey Old Boys in July 2007.

While on a 1978 tour in Buenos Aires, he was imprisoned for three months by the Argentinian authorities after attempting to smuggle a flag from a government building. He was later cleared of "demeaning a patriotic symbol".

In one of the most memorable moments in sporting history, Anderson along with his French Rugby counterpart Jean Condom became the subject of an amusing banner spotted by TV cameras in the crowd during a 5 Nations rugby match at Landsdowne Road in Ireland's championship campaign of 1985. The banner read 'Our Willies bigger than your Condom!'.

Harry McGuigan along with Brother Lewis formed the Ren-Bu-Kan Judo Club in 1968. The club was affiliated to the Northern Ireland Judo Federation until 1994. Since then the club has been affiliated to the Irish Judo Association.

The first home of the club was in a disused building in Dungannon Square supplied by the Forresters Cub.

The club built a wooden foundation and filled it tight with sawdust and stretched a lorry tarpaulin over the top and secured it down with hooks.

The club continued to use the small space until the mid 1990's when they moved to the newly built Dungannon Leisure Centre where the club continued to flourish.

The club has seen many of its members go on to become Irish Champions. Harry made a return to the competition in 2002 where he became a European champion and runner up as well as an array of gold medals. In 2005 the Irish Judo Association awarded Harry his 6th Dan the highest ever grade awarded in Ireland.