IT’S been a while since we have been blown away by Tyrone, but last weekend (February 4) was a sure sign that there is a new team in the making. The last time we witnessed an awesome performance from them was in the 2010 Ulster final when they cleaned Monaghan out.
By their own admission, last year was a bit of a washout. It began with tragedy, and no county or set of players could have realistically hoped to do much after such an occurrence.
One statistic, if I may. 2011 was the first year since Mickey Harte took over as Tyrone manager that they failed to win any silverware. After the Ulster title and Sam Maguire in 2003, they took ownership of the McKenna Cup, winning four in a row. Then there was the All-Ireland in 2008, followed by two Ulsters.
In all the assessments of Mickey Harte’s years as manager, I don’t believe I was ever made aware of that record. It’s quite simply staggering and when you consider the team already have won the McKenna Cup this year, it’s some haul of silverware.
Tyrone have taken steps to build on their success, they used the feel-good factor to implement ambitious plans and they went out and got people with influence to pledge their support.
Even as times became more straightened financially, they have pushed through and will open their Centre of Excellence open on the very day of the ten year anniversary of the first All-Ireland. That sort of spirit will see them continually challenge for honours, and it took a lot of guts and hard work.
If you would like to read the whole story, buy the current issue of Gaelic Life – published February 9 – online or in your local newsagent