TYRONE have yet to lose a championship game in the new U17 format and that record was extended at Pairc Esler in Newry on Saturday evening when they proved too strong for Down on a 2-11 to 0-9 scoreline.
A late Daniel Fullerton goal put the gloss on the holders’ win and manager Colin Holmes admitted that it was a lot closer than the eight point winning margin may suggest.
“We had a five point lead at half-time and I suppose we didn’t push on in the second half,” said Holmes.
“The pitch is tight, narrow and we found it difficult to shake them off. Our tackling at the back was very good.
“Shealan Johnston was well looked after for most of the game but he was still instrumental at the start of the second half when they got in for two points to cut the gap to three.
“It was really only when Daniel Fullerton put that ball in the net late on that we were able to breath a little easier as it was tight there for the middle 15 minutes of the second half.”
After ruthlessly putting Donegal to the sword in the previous round the same cutting edge wasn’t there and Holmes admits that is something that they will have to work on.
“You just sort of know that football is football and it keeps you grounded,” he admitted.
“The balls that were going in and that tackles that we were doing the last day, it just wasn’t the same energy this time around so we need to look at that and see why that was the case.
“We have six weeks now until the semi final so we will take a wee break. The players will go back and play for their clubs and that will keep them grounded and we will get around a few games and see who is on our panel and who is outside the panel.
“For the last month then we can push on once they can through the baulk of their exams because at the end of the day that is their priority for the next month and then we will concentrate on who we play in the semi final.”