By Niall Gartland
THE hand of God? How about the ‘hand of McShane’? That’s how Tyrone’s goalkeeping hero Cathal McShane jokingly refers to his clever flick-on which bamboozled Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly and opened daylight between the two teams at a crucial juncture in last Saturday’s All-Ireland final.
But the Owen Roes man is also happy to acknowledge that it wouldn’t have been possible without an absolutely gorgeous cross-field pass from footballer of the year contender Conor Meyler, whom he’s soldiered alongside for many-a-year.
Speaking at Sunday’s joyous homecoming in O’Neill’s Healy Park, McShane said: “I was joking with Conor, saying he didn’t mean it. But he’s been brilliant all year, he’s a real leader.
“We’ve been involved in a few teams now, we won a Sigerson Cup with St Mary’s and played on the Tyrone U21s together, so to win an All-Ireland final together was great.
“We’d actually talked about the move in training – I said that if the ball over the top was on, then go for it. He looked up and saw the opportunity was there, I knew I was close to goal, I got the hand on it and I was buzzing afterwards.”
McShane is also confident there’s more to come from this Tyrone team – a scary enough proposition for the rest of the country.
“I think looking at yesterday, there’s a lot of emotion in a final, a lot of build-up, and we only had a two-week turnaround from the Kerry game. The sky is the limit for this group, we’ve worked hard not just this year, but the last five or six years.
“A few new faces came in this year and obviously there’s new management, and new voices, but we’ve been lucky to have good management over the years and it’s really given us a platform to go on and have success.
“Brian and Feargal came in with the backroom team and we know the success we had at U21 level, and we drove on this year, every game I felt we got better, and obviously now we’re just going to enjoy this.”
See today’s Ulster Herald for our full interview with Cathal McShane