No Tyrone injuries after first round of club action.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

TYRONE'S players came through a round of club games without picking up any injuries, but many more anxious weekends lie ahead for manager Mickey Harte as he looks to the Ulster Senior Football Championship opener against Monaghan.

His squad members are due to feature for their clubs in six league games ahead of the May 20 clash with the Farney men, and with Tiernan McCann and Colm Cavanagh already extremely doubtful for that tie, the Red Hands can ill-afford to lose any more players.

But the defending Ulster champions are confident they can overcome the Farney challenge at Healy Park, a home venue where they have tasted victory in two recent league games.

"It is a boost to have won our last two games at Healy Park but Monaghan on May 20th will be a different kettle of fish," said Peter Harte.

But Monaghan have been showing impressive form of late, and ended Dublin's unbeaten run at Croke Park in their concluding league game.

"They had a very good league campaign and the fact that they ended Dublin's unbeaten run at the weekend says it all," said Harte.

"Over the years they have always been tough opponents when it comes to the championship and Malachy (O'Rourke) has done a great job with them.

"It is still seven or eight weeks away and a lot can happen between then and now but no doubt both sets of players will be eagerly looking forward to it and from our point of view it's nice to get a home draw in the championship as it hasn't happened too many times in recent years."

Harte is a proud clubman, and despite the risk if injury, he is determined to give his all as Errigal Ciaran defend their Division One league title with an important run of games.

"It's full steam ahead now with the club leagues starting this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"The opening month is going to be busy with six games down for decision but that is what you want to be doing, there is no substitute for playing football.

"We won the league title last season and it is going to be tough again this year as there is no such thing as an easy game in division one, they are all so competitive." Tyrone feel they can make Healy Park a fortress once again and account for Monaghan next month.

"It was a great way to finish the league with wins over Donegal, Mayo and Kerry. It was badly needed given our position in the table, but I think that we all know that it is about the Championship now and that is where our full focus will turn to."

Tyrone have displayed attacking flair in recent weeks, with Stephen O'Neill's impact as forwards coach clearly evident in their movement and score-taking.

A 1-16 to 0-14 defeat of Kerry brought an encouraging conclusion to a league campaign that had started badly with three disappointing defeats in the opening four games.

"Once again I thought we played some good attacking football and it was nice to finish with another good total.

"There are no such things as a dead rubber in county games as they are all important and there is no doubt that Kerry came up here to win.

"They played the better football for the opening twenty-five minutes or so and were full value for their lead but the spell just before half-time was crucial for us.

We hit four unanswered points to take the lead and I'm sure they were wondering how they were behind at half-time.

"We began to get on top of them in the third quarter and once we got the goal there was a long way back for them. Unfortunately we missed another penalty, but I have no room to talk about missing penalties and that is something that we will have to work on."


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