A MESSAGE of intent has been issued by the all-conquering Red Hands as they embark on the latest stage of the footballing journey which they hope will culminate in Sam Maguire glory at Croke Park.
Their bitterly disappointing defeat in last year’s All-Ireland Quarter Final is still fresh in the memory and will act as a major motivating factor as they prepare to return to headquarters. It’s a point emphasised by their two-goal hero, Ronan O’Neill, following Sunday’s big win over Down.
The Omagh St Enda’s player was introduced as a second-half substitute in the 2-17 to 0-15 win at Clones and made an immediate impact. His brace of opportunist goals consolidated their commanding position as the Anglo Celt Cup was secured for a 15th time.
“All of this team want to get back to Croke Park to do ourselves justice. It’s something that has been in the back of our minds throughout this campaign and during the National League as well,” he said.
“Tyrone love going to Croke Park and expressing ourselves there because it’s a fantastic pitch. We’ll look forward to the Quarter Final against whoever it’s going to be and giving a good account of ourselves compared to last year.
“It’s a case of doing the whole county and our supporters justice on Quarter Final day. Thankfully, that target as now been achieved and I’m just delighted to have taken my two chances for the goal,” he added.
A former All-Ireland Minor winner in 2010, Ronan O’Neill has firmly established himself in the Tyrone panel. He certainly relished the major scoring opportunities which finally and emphatically disposed of a Down challenge that was weakening considerably as the second half progressed.
He also set up a point for Matthew Donnelly and will be aiming to gain even more gametime as Tyrone march on to the All-Ireland Quarter Final. It’s a point which he readily acknowledges as he prepares to improve on what has been a frustrating enough season for him to date.
“Sometimes those opportunities come along and you have to take them. I managed to be in the right place at the right time,” he said.
“I’m happy enough that those two goal chances arose and that I had the belief in myself to take them and put the ball into the net. For the second one, the keeper came out just a bit too far and I saw him and decided to take the shot. There’s times that those kinds of shots go over the bar.”
FULL INTERVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S TYRONE HERALD
Posted: 9:43 am July 18, 2017
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