Tyrone are set fair for a big summer says Kieran McGeary

Kieran McGeary believes that Tyrone's form in the second half of the League has set them up nicely to regain their Ulster title this summer Picture by Philip Walsh
By Francis Mooney

A LATE charge for the League finish line could be the catalyst for another big summer for Tyrone, according to Kieran McGeary.

A five-game unbeaten run wasn't enough to earn them a place in the Division One final, but left the Red Hands in a much better place than they inhabited in mid-February, when after three games, they owned just one point.

Performances have continued on an upward curve since then and, while they face a seven-week spell of competitive inactivity before their Ulster Championship opener against Derry, solid foundations have been laid.

“Our attacking game has continued to get better every week. From the start of the League the knives were out for us and were sharpened and that's understandable because we didn't play to our potential in the first two games,” said McGeary.

“We had a slow start to the League and you could blame the holiday or you could blame something else but we knew deep down that we were going to get there.”

Tyrone made a late start to training due to that team holiday to Thailand over the New Year period, and it wasn't until after the two-week break in League action following the third game that they began to move with purpose, winning all of their remaining games.

“That extra week of hard training after the Roscommon game stood to us as we got a wee bit more fitter and more clinical in front of the posts and we just sort of got more of a game structure put together that we could play with.”

The Red Hands are raging hot favourites for their Ulster SFC preliminary round clash with a Derry side that played Division Four football this season, but the Pomeroy clubman insisted the Oak Leaf challenge will be taken seriously.

“We are taking two weeks off training now with the county and will go back to our clubs with the leagues starting this weekend,” he said.

“We will look after ourselves and when we come back I think that we have a

five-week run-in until the Championship.

“There will be absolutely no complacency when facing Derry. They may have been in Division Four but when two Ulster teams go head to head in the Championship anything can happen; you have seen it in the past.

“Donegal gained promotion and they will be giving the Championship a big push. Monaghan were unlucky [against Mayo] and they will be taking time off before regrouping as well, so it's all to play for in the Championship.”

McGeary was one of the stand-out performers in the win over Galway last weekend, taking over in the second half as man-marker on Shane Walsh, who had been on fire before the break, leading the Tribal charge as they opened out a seven points lead.

“If there is a job to be done I will try my best to do it,” he said.

“At the start of the game we didn't know were Walsh was going to play. He picked up a thumb injury at the start of the second half which suited me as it left my job a wee bit easier as he wasn't able to catch the ball.

“He wasn't as keen to get on the ball as he was in the first half when you saw the damage that he can do. He is a brilliant footballer with a great turn of pace, a great skill set and physically strong and Galway look on him to get on easy ball and run at defences.

“The second half display was much better compared to the first. We were taken a bit by surprise in the first half.”

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