A FIRST round fright that almost dealt a decisive blow to Tyrone’s 2018 championship ambitions is instead being targeted as the springboard to more progress after a tension-filled All-Ireland Qualifier clash.
Only Cathal McShane’s last-gasp equaliser at the end of normal time saved the Red Hands. But they recovered to win by 2-14 to 0-19 in front of 9000 enthralled fans at Pairc Tailteann in Navan on Saturday.
Relief was, understandably the primary emotion for players, management and supporters. It was etched on their faces as they mingled with family and fans in the warm evening sunshine following a match that had proved so dramatic. The general feeling was also summed up by team manager, Mickey Harte.
“The game was up for us in normal time and I think we would have regretted that for the rest of our lives. If we had lost that game, then we only had ourselves to blame and I think it was really by the skin of our teeth that we got that draw,” he said.
“There was a period before half-time when we probably created about two or three goal chances and got precious little in return. But the difference was that we were very determined not to lose this game.
“We believe we have a very good team and though it would be a total shame to not be in the next round. Our players believed that all week and they believed it this last couple of weeks. They believed it all morning in our preparation and we said that if this goes to the wire, we’re going to be there.
“So, they had that resolve in them never to say die and if ever they needed that they needed it today. But I do feel for Meath, for the team out there and the people of Meath.
They could just as well have been in the next round as us and it’s a great credit to them because the fighting spirit that they’re renowned for is very much still in this next generation.”
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