Cathal McShane knows the importance of Tyrone winning streak
Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup final: Donegal v Tyrone (Saturday, 6pm, Athletic Grounds)
CATHAL McShane feels that there is more than just silverware at stake in the Athletic Grounds this evening when holders Tyrone take on neighbours Donegal in the rearranged Bank Of Ireland McKenna Cup Final.
Owen Roes clubman McShane hit 1-1 in the early stages of Tyrone’s defeat by Dublin while he also weighed in with two crucial points last weekend as the Ulster champions finally got off the mark in the National league with a crucial victory in Kildare.
With Ulster derbies against Monaghan and Donegal again coming up in the next fortnight in the league he stresses how important it is for the Red Hands to try and build a bit of momentum and gain another victory in a competition that Tyrone hold in high regard.
“The McKenna Cup means a lot to us and that is demonstrated by the fact that we are going for a seventh title in a row,” said McShane.
“It felt great to get our first two league points on the board last weekend in Newbridge and we want to try and build on that result and get a bit of momentum.
“It wasn’t planned that the McKenna Cup Final would take place at this stage and it’s a test of any squad but we have a big squad with a lot of players gunning to get in there and on the back of last weekend’s win it has perhaps come at the right time for us.
“At the end of the day it is a final and you always want to win finals and after that we will refocus on the league again and a tough trip to play Monaghan. I think it is important now to try and get a winning streak going.
“We knew that we had put in a good performance against Dublin and were unlucky to come away with nothing to show for our efforts.
“The lads kept their heads down in training and worked hard to make sure that we were ready for Kildare.
“We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy down there, as its always a difficult venue to get points, but we dug deep and got the win that we needed.”
While both sides for tonight’s decider show a number of changes from their last league outings Cathal is in no doubt that it will still be keenly contested against their near neighbours.
“There is always an intense rivalry against Donegal and that should be even more so in a final when there is silverware at stake,” admitted Cathal.
“From my point of view I remember playing in two tough championship games against them at U21 level and then again in my first Ulster senior final and we came out on the right end of the result on all of those occasions and I would settle for the same again.
“We play them again two weeks later in the league so it would be important to try and put a marker down. Donegal probably feel hard done by as they have played well without getting points and I think that it is crucial for us to try and win this weekend ahead of our league meeting with them.
“They have been putting in some very good performances and are probably unlucky to be in the position that they find themselves in division one.
“They lost by a point to Galway and came back strong in the second half last weekend against Dublin at Croke Park and they are playing well at the moment and we need to be ready for that challenge in the final.”