By Niall Gartland
TYRONE U-20 boss Paul Devlin was appointed on a new three-year contract earlier in the year, but he says the lure of making amends for the All-Ireland semi-final defeats of the last two years didn’t play into his thinking.
The Red Hands begin their Ulster Championship defence at home to Donegal tomorrow evening (Friday), by coincidence the same team they accounted for in last year’s final.
It’ll be a fairly different looking Tyrone team as talented younsters like Darragh Canavan and Cormac Munroe have made the step up to the senior panel, but hopes are always high for underage teams in the county (they’ve won the Ulster Minor Championship a record 23 times, and they also lead the roll of honour list at U-21/U-20 level with 14 titles to their name).
Yet selfishness isn’t something that played into Devlin’s thinking when he decided he’d like to stay in the role.
“Ach no, at the end of the day you always want to help out.
“Tyrone have been good to me, have been good to my family over the years. We want to keep the process going and develop lads as it goes along.”
Tyrone do have some players hanging over from last year, including their new captain and vice-captain, Cormac Quinn (Errigal Ciaran) and Neil Kilpatrick (Edendork).
“This is Cormac’s second year in the group and he carries himself well, the same as Neil Kilpatrick. They’re two lads who know what we’re about.
“They’re good in that sense as they can help the younger lads who’ve broken into the panel this year. It’s good to have lads with a bit of experience, but we’ve leaders all round the place, they’ve just got the call to captain the team this year.”
See this week’s Ulster Herald for the rest of our interview with Tyrone U-20 boss Paul Devlin