Tyrone back on track says Padraig Hampsey

Padraig Hampsey says: "The massive thing was putting pride back in the Tyrone jersey."
Francis Mooney

A BATTLING comeback at Hyde Park restored pride in the Red Hand jersey, according to Padraig Hampsey.

Tyrone came from seven points behind to earn a draw with Roscommon, and a first point of the 2019 League campaign lifts them off the bottom of the Division One table.

It didn’t look good for last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists when they were run ragged by the rampant Rossies in a blistering 15-minute spell before half-time. The prospects were even more bleak when the home side grabbed a goal early in the second half.

But with the wind at their backs, Tyrone dominated the remainder of the game and it was raiding goalkeeper Niall Morgan who sliced over a brilliant equaliser, his second point from play in successive games.

“The massive thing was putting pride back in the Tyrone jersey. People travel all around the country to watch us and we said before we went out that we had to play with pride and I think we showed that,” said Hampsey.

“We could have been going into our next game with no points at all, but this point was a positive and we’ll take plenty of positives from that. The boys dug deep and we ground out a draw.

“We pushed forward in the second half and could have nicked it. It was a game of two halves and we showed great steel to come back and get the draw.”

The Allstar defender feels the character displayed by a group of players facing the unthinkable prospect of a third straight defeat bodes well for the challenge that still faces them in terms of avoiding relegation.

Tyrone remain without a win, but they will take on Ulster rivals in their next League tie with renewed confidence.

“The lads showed great spirit to come back into it. We broke lines and got forward and got scores. You saw Niall Morgan there contributing another nice score again.

“We showed great character to come back. We didn’t give up and refused to throw in the towel whenever things were going against us. Plenty of teams could have felt it wasn’t their day but we showed great endeavour to come back and get a draw.

“There was a strong breeze in the first half and they used it to their advantage. They went in at half-time six points ahead so we knew we had to come out fighting.

“We found them tough to break down. We clawed it back to four and then they got the goal which was at a big stage in the game, but we plugged away and got our own goal and thankfully got the draw at the end there.”

Tyrone’s strike rate continues to represent a problem and they have struggled to craft and execute scores, with Darren McCurry the only attacker to score a point from play on Sunday.

But Hampsey is confident the work being done on the training field at Garvaghey will begin to play off in front of the posts in competitive situations.

“We have been working at training over this past number of weeks on our forward play. We feel it is starting to come together and it is nothing to worry about. Hopefully after the break it will come together. We’ve plenty of depth and lads coming back in.”

Hampsey, who made his first start of the season at Hyde Park, had a chance to seal a win late on, but his attempted shot on goal was superbly blocked by Aengus Lyons.

“Roscommon were well set up defensively and they got to me before I could pull the trigger," he added.

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