Lessons were learned in league final – Devenney
SO TYRONE and Fermanagh both came unstuck last weekend in what was a difficult weekend for Ulster football at Headquarters.
It’s frustrating for Tyrone in particular to have topped the table, beat every team comfortably along the way, yet have no silverware to show for it.
The big buzz words going into any final are things like will to win, pride in the jersey, leadership and desire. The biggest one going into Sunday though for me was hunger. Kildare simply had more of it.
I don’t think that Kildare have got the credit they deserve for their consistency over recent seasons. At last, they now have something tangible to show for it in the form of the Division Two trophy, as well as the huge psychological boost of taking a scalp like that of Tyrone.
There’s never a good time to lose, but when the dust settles Mickey Harte will realise that this was just the reality check his side needed. They’ll go back to training now knowing that they’re off the pace, and that will add to the motivation on the training field ahead of championship and the boys will hit it even harder now than if they had won last weekend.
Things which happened which simply wouldn’t happen in championship for Tyrone. Owen Mulligan was playing quite well, his blonde hair floating in the Croke Park breeze, but he put in a token tackle at one stage which led directly to a Kildare score.
Moments later Ronan McNabb and Mark Donnelly, who I thought was Tyrone’s best player on the day, did the same, with all three leading to crucial Kildare points when the game was in the melting pot.
There was no intensity or ferocity in the tackle, which is what marked Tyrone out above the rest for years. Harte will expect a lot more come championship time.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published Thursday May 3. Buy your copy now, in your local newsagent or online, by clicking the subscribe button on this page