Harry Loughran happy to wait for Tyrone chance despite heroics against Meath
HARRY Loughran will happily return to the bench and wait for his chance to come along, just like it did at PaircTailteann.
A different type of challenge awaits at Netwatch Cullen Park, but Tyrone's predatory goal machine is ready to strike again.
He had done it at club level with a string of goals in Moy's run to the All-Ireland Club IFC title earlier this year, and sure enough, he celebrated his Championship debut with a vital three-pointer against Meath.
He's been on the Red Hand panel for a couple of years now, but injuries have stalled his inter-county career.
Now fully fit, his killer instinct in front of the posts gives manager Mickey Harte a valuable extra option, but Loughran is prepared to be patient and take his chance when it comes.
“There's a great panel, and I've been struggling with injuries and trying to get a bit of a run and a bit of form,” he said.
“You have to prove yourself in training, and my problem is trying to get training consistently.
“And if you do train and train well, Mickey gives you a chance, and you have to try and take it.
“I'll put the head down, work hard, and please God, the hard work will pay off, and pay off for us all.
“You have to take it one game at a time. It's a bit of a cliché, but you can see how tough it is going down to places like Navan, and the crowd were unbelievable.”
A series of setbacks in his battle with injuries has helped Loughran develop resilience and mental toughness.
That resolve was evident in a Qualifier cliff-hanger against Meath when he missed a scoring opportunity late in normal time, but refused to allow it to affect him, and his composure was intact when he ghosted in to palm home a crucial extra-time goal.
“You can't let it affect you. You have to go on, and in the back of my mind, I'm always thinking, you only need one chance, and when your chance comes, you have to try and take it.
“The supply in was good in the second half and in extra-time, and we took our chances towards the end, that got us over the line.
“We made hard work of it, but sometimes when you get a tough battle like that, it stands to you, and to honest, we were glad to get out of it. The lads dug deep in the end.
“It was that type of game where a goal was going to be a big score, and we probably blew a few big chances before the end of the game (normal time), myself included.
“Sometimes you get a bit of a break, a bit of luck, and in the right place at the right time. You need a bit of luck.Hopefully there'll be bigger days to come.”
But Loughran has no doubt about the game's most important score, handing the plaudits to Cathal McShane, whose dramatic equalising point saved Tyrone from defeat and set the game to extra-time.
“You know you're not going to get out with an easy win, and to be fair to Cathal McShane, at the end of normal time, for me, that was the outstanding moment of the game, where he took the leadership upon himself, kicked the ball and it was a great score. For me, that was the defining moment in that game.”