PREMIER boss David Harvey said the experience gained and life lessons learned at the SuperCupNI will serve his players well whether they go on to have a career in football or not.
Harvey was speaking after his team ended the week on a high with a 1-0 victory over Chinese opponents Komazawa Uni FC on Friday.
The week began in similar fashion with a 3-1 win over Beijing Morning Star although in between Harvey’s boys suffered defeats to O’Higgins and counties Antrim and Armagh.
All told it was a testing five days for the Tyrone players who Harvey insisted met every challenge head on.
“Every single player gave me 100 per-cent all week, they never stopped. When they were beaten 6-0 by O’Higgins, they picked themselves up and went again, they did the same against Antrim and Armagh, probably the hardest result to take, and they ended the week with a win and a clean sheet,” he said.
“The players went into the tournament as boys and left it as young men. They have developed off the pitch as well as on it.
“The mental strength and emotional strength they have shown during the week was outstanding. They showed a lot of maturity. The players did their bit for the county.”
Following the opening day win against Beijing in the televised game at Ballymena showgrounds, Tyrone were brought back down to earth with a bump in a 6-0 defeat to Chilean outfit O’Higgins.
On Wednesday the county under-17s, despite excellent performances from Anthony McCullagh, John Scott and skipper Niall McGinley, suffered a 4-0 defeat to Antrim in the fourth tier bowl competition. That game was in the balance at 1-0 until the final ten minutes when Antrim picked their opponents off on the counter attack.
That disappointing reverse took Harvey and his boys to Clough, Ballymena for a meeting with Armagh. In a very tight encounter the Orchard side scored first but with ten minutes remaining the Red Hands equalised following a brilliant team move which ended with Andy Scott squaring for Adam Young to finish.
Tyrone looked the more likely at this stage but in the final moments their opponents nicked a winner from a corner.
That, however, was a lesson well learned. In their final game at Parker Avenue in Portrush, the Tyrone rearguard was put under intense scrutiny after Derg lad
Jamie Burke had given the Red Hands a slender half-time advantage.
The Tyrone defence had to defend as many as 20 free kicks in the second half before securing the morale-boosting victory.
“It was a real team effort, everyone was superb, defence, midfield, the strikers, they all played their part,” added Harvey.
“All told it was an excellent week and as a manager I learned as much as anyone. I’ve been chatting to many of the Junior players during the course of the week and I’m already looking forward to next year.
There will be players who missed out this time who will get their chance next year when the whole process starts all over again.”
Before breaking up on Friday a number of awards were presented. Skipper Niall McGinley received the players’ player accolade while John Scott, who played in every game, was named player of the tournament.
A merit award was presented to Matthew Glendinning, from Coagh United, who, according to the coach, was an inspiration both on and off the field.
Posted: 10:31 am August 1, 2017
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