FOR Tyrone’s four Sigerson Cup winners, it’s a case of onto the next one as they put their college heroics behind them to focus on this weekend’s Division One meeting with Cavan at Healy Park.
Cathal McShane, Conor Meyler, Conall McCann and Kieran McGeary all produced brilliant displays as the Belfast outfit shocked UCC and UCD at the weekend, and their displays would not have went unnoticed by county manager Mickey Harte as Tyrone attempt to add to their encouraging start to the League season – one which has seen them collect three points from a possible four.
“Sunday is going to be a tough task against Cavan,” McShane said. “We played in them in the McKenna Cup and they got one over on Tyrone, so it makes the fixture that bit more special because we’ll be looking to get one back at them.
“Obviously it has been a great week for the St Mary’s boys, but a tough one too. We played two games in two days and that’s tough going, but you just try and recover as best you can. We’ll rest up and get our heads right for Sunday’s game.”
The Breffni county, now managed by former Red Hand star Mattie McGleenan, will be attempting to re-enact their 1-13 to 0-12 win over Tyrone last month.
In a rare occurrence, Tyrone just found that their opponents were that wee bit sharper, and McShane said that if they are as sluggish this time around, they will rack up back-to-back losses against Cavan.
“ They were definitely up for it that day,” McShane continued. “Going up to Cavan is always such a hard place to go to. We knew that from previous years with the u-21s and it seems to be the same at senior level too.
“ This Sunday will all be about Tyrone doing whatever they can to get the win. It’s all about getting the two points at the end of the day.”
Prior to this season, Tyrone had won just three of their previous 10 Division One matches at Healy Park but Sunday presents a chance for back-to-back wins after they started this campaign with a six-point win over Roscommon.
The Owen Roes man said that it was vital that they make the Omagh venue somewhere that is feared by visiting teams.
“I’ve heard men talking about making Healy Park a fortress and we need to continue winning there. We know if we stick to our gameplan we can come out with a victory.
“ We’re well prepared and training is going well, so we need to just believe that we can get the win. Doing that at Healy Park will keep people quiet when it comes to people questioning whether it’s a good place for us to play. I believe it is and all the rest of the lads believe it is as well.”
Tyrone followed up that win over the Rossies with a commanding display against Dublin at Croke Park. Honours were even at the end of the 70-plus minutes, but it was Harte’s side that felt most hard done by as they had led by five points before Dublin reeled them in with Dean Rock’s 74th-minute free earning the All-Ireland champions a point.
McShane said that it was a disappointed Tyrone dressing room afterwards, but he believes that in the cold light of day they would be happy with the outcome.
“Dublin are All-Ireland champions and it’s always good to come away with a point,” he said. “ Going a man down (after Mark Bradley’s dismissal), you’d have taken that at the end of the game.
“We were a wee bit annoyed though because the win was there, the two points were there for us. Again, it was just important that we came away with something in the end up.
“We’re always seeking to improve. We picked up two points against Roscommon and one against Dublin, so we are undefeated and we want to continue that run against Cavan. Hopefully we can keep that record going on Sunday.”
The Red Hands are in line for a significant boost for the game as Mattie Donnelly has been given the all-clear for the Ulster derby.
The Trillick man had missed the Dublin match after suffering concussion in the early stages of the Roscommon game, but he will be available for selection.
His younger brother Richie looks set to miss the rest of the League however after he suffered a back injury. Donnelly is expected to be out for two months.
Tyrone have underlined their All Ireland credentials by crushing Down in Sunday's Ulster Championship Final