Niall McCoy’s Monday Blog – No panic for Tyrone
SO Tyrone’s last four championship exits have been as follows; a five-point defeat to Cork in 2009, a five-point loss to Dublin in 2010, a seven-point loss to the same opposition last year and a 10-point defeat to Kerry at the weekend. The Red Hands haven’t dined at the top table for quite a while now.
Is it time to be worried? Saturday’s loss certainly had many negatives for them.
David Coldrick’s decision to send off Brian McGuigan and, amazingly, let Patrick Curtin away with a yellow card should not disguise the fact that they were outclassed at FIitzgerald Stadium.
Kerry were better, much better, and fully merited their 10-point win. It was a edgy enough game, spiteful at times, and, from a Kerry perspective, that was for 2003 and the years of hurt the Red Hands inflicted on them. They were hungrier.
Coldrick didn’t do Mickey Harte’s side many favours, but he wasn’t completely against them either. Ryan McMenamin and Conor Gormley could have had half a dozen yellow cards between them. Kieran Donaghy wasn’t shy of the needle either, and he too could have picked up two yellows for his verbals alone while his slap to the face of Pascal McConnell could have been seen as more than accidental by some referees.
On the playing side of things, when the Kerry forwards got the ball they looked up and went for goal, when the Tyrone forwards received possession, they straight away looped backwards looking for the lay-off. It was just an example of the different mindset the teams seemed to have.
I watched both centre half-forwards closely. Mark Donnelly is a classy, classy player – but he didn’t pull the trigger when in good positions and too often looked for the safe pass rather than the shot. Compare that with Declan O’Sullivan at the other end who gave a super performance, kicking two great points in the process.
The question is, how good or how bad are Tyrone? The answer is they are not the team they were, but they are nowhere near as bad as Saturday night seemed to suggest.
The retired men are gone, there’s no point mentioning them, but Tyrone were without Sean Cavanagh, Kyle Coney, Ronan O’Neill and Justin McMahon. Not only do they bring up the quality of the squad, they add so much to the first 15. This year’s minor forward line is as good as I have seen at the level. They have won two of the last three titles at u-18 level and the job now is to feed a few of those through to the senior ranks.
Patience is the key word for Tyrone football now. They have given their fans so many glorious days, that a few seasons off to rebuild looks necessary now. They don’t look a top-bracket team at present, but it’s likely they will be back there in a few years.