Red Hand boss Mickey Harte is remaining optimistic about the county’s future prospects despite them slipping to a third defeat from four matches when they lost out to Monaghan on a score of 0-15 to 0-14.
Over 6000 fans packed into St Mary’s Park in Castleblayney for what turned out to be an enthralling clash. But Tyrone’s hopes of building on their victory over Kildare last time out were dashed when a lasp gasp rally just failed to clinch them a share of the spoils.
It was looking bad for them when they trailed by four points entering added time. However, they rallied before Peter Harte’s shot with the last kick fell just short of the target.
Now Tyrone go into their final three games needing points quickly to avoid the dreaded relegation back to Division Two.
Speaking afterwards, the team manager said a ‘flattering interval lead’ of 0-7 to 0-6 had given them confidence that they could get something out of the eagerly anticipated clash.
“I think we were good enough in the early part of the second half, but the critical point was when they got four points in a row,” he said.
“They pushed away from us, but I think the players showed a lot of determination and character to reduce the deficit down to one point again late on. Within that time we also had three or four more chances, but didn’t take them.
“It’s fine margins in this division and that’s the difference between getting points two valuable league points, one or none as it turned out.
“I think the players showed a lot of courage and put in a lot of hard work and it’s very hard when you do that and get nothing out of it. We’ll not get points, but we will get plenty out of this game in terms of what they’re capable of.”
Tyrone trailed by 0-4 to no score early on, before battling back in impressive fashion to lead by one, 0-7 to 0-6, at the interval break. Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly and Lee Brennan were among those to shine for them during that opening period.
All was set for them to press ahead on the resumption, but Monaghan wasted no time in re-establishing their credentials. The tie was evenly poised at 0-11 each entering the closing stages, when suddenly the home team pressed ahead, thanks in particular to the promptings of substitute Conor McManus.
They looked on course for a more comfortable win when they led by 0-15 to 0-11. Then, Ritchie Donnelly and Lee Brennan fired over to give Tyrone a lifeline as Peter Harte’s attempt for the equaliser dropped just short at the finish.