IT WASN’T the start the Tyrone senior hurlers would have wanted as several leading lights resumed county duty at the weekend alongside returning manager Mattie Lennon.
A comprehensive 3-15 to 1-11 reversal on home soil illustrates the need for more work to be done in order to turn fortunes around, but the Tyrone manager was heartened by a battling display. The Derrynoose native readily accepted it was a disappointing result, but felt it was due to his team’s inability to adjust to the tempo set by Monaghan from the outset.
“Yes, it was a disappointing result, but we fought right to the very end. That is to be expected of these lads. We just didn’t get to the pitch of the game early on and, Monaghan in fairness were very good. They were very hungry and, were thoroughly deserving of their win.”
A competitive opening period swung irreversibly Monaghan’s way, when Brian McGuigan pounced for a 20th minute goal, but Lennon still believed Tyrone would respond.
“It possibly was a bit fortuitous because it was nip and tuck up until that goal. We had missed a lot of chances against the breeze. It was swirling and was fairly strong throughout the game and that goal was a bit of setback. But at the end of the day there was plenty of time still left in the game for us to get back into it. We just struggled to get into the game. Monaghan were good. They came with a game plan and they executed it very well and fair play to them.”
Following that goal Monaghan only registered one further point in the half as Tyrone engineered a fight back. Mattie concurred that half time came too soon for Tyrone who were beginning to enjoy a period of dominance.
“Just coming up to halftime we were getting into the game and we had got a run of scores to close the gap. We hit four in a row and we would have liked if it had have continued on for another few minutes because we were starting to get some play and some movement going.
Wides are part and parcel of the game. It is one of these things. Monaghan were hungry and organised throughout and we simply didn’t match them at times. It is the first day out and we have to dust ourselves down and prepare for another tough match against Louth next Sunday.”
Tyrone have underlined their All Ireland credentials by crushing Down in Sunday's Ulster Championship Final