Former Tyrone keeper Pascal McConnell insists Tyrone need to build momentum through the backdoor following Sunday’s win over Limerick.
Meath are next up for the Red Hands and McConnell says Mickey Harte’s men will need to up their game.
“It’s the result which matters first and foremost from Sunday’s win over Limerick. The fact is that Tyrone are in the draw for the next round of the Qualifiers and the chance is there to gain the kind of momentum which you always need through the backdoor,” he said.
Obviously there were a lot of things about the game which will need to be improved for the next round. I suppose we were in a no-win situation going into Sunday because nobody was going to be praising Tyrone about gaining the victory and a loss would have been a total disaster.
Limerick entered the tie as typical underdogs with nothing to lose. But perhaps the thing which impressed me most about our display was the way in which a number of the very experienced players stepped up to the mark when it mattered. Colm and Sean Cavanagh, Peter Harte, Justin McMahon and Cathal McCarron all made important contributions and settled things when Limerick seemed to be threatening.
However, there were also aspects of our play which will be worrying.
I think Sunday was a missed opportunity for Tyrone to introduce a more ruthless streak into their game.
That’s going to be needed further down the line in the Qualifiers, and the goal chances which we missed in particular will have to be converted against better quality opposition.
There were also a lot of silly things creeping back into the team’s play, such as talking back to the referee, over-carrying and giving away possession too easily.
We didn’t capitalise on things and should have really put the game beyond reach earlier. The performance against Donegal was good, but maybe the momentum of it was lost against Limerick.
I’d love to see the team showing a bit more flair because I think we were a bit over-cautious in our approach.
The defensive system restricted us and that’s something which we can’t afford to allow to happen if we progress to the later stages of the championship and are meeting the likes of Dublin, Kerry, Mayo or Donegal again.
Any of the counties in the next round are going to be a lot more difficult and that’s why those aspects of our play need to be improved on.
In saying all that, the period just after half-time was what made the difference for us. Tyrone will always enjoy a purple patch and the points scored at that time gave that breathing space.
I was very impressed by the performance of Mark Bradley. It’s good to see a young player like him – who is still U-21 – coming through.
Ronan O’Neill will also have benefited from the game-time and it’s important that as many players as possible are able to come in and make a contribution because that’s what you need as the championship progresses.
But I think everyone involved in the Tyrone set-up will know that there’s definitely more left in the tank after this performance.
It’s a case of gathering momentum from this victory and hope that the win is the start of something bigger in the championship.