Tyrone hurling boss McShane urges players to seize their chance in crucial Division 3A clash with Sligo

Tyrone hurling manager Michael McShane
Tyrone hurling manager Michael McShane

TABLE-TOPPERS Sligo visit Healy Park for a clash that will make or break Tyrone’s NHL Division 3A challenge, and manager Michael McShane is urging his player to seize the moment.

With two games to go, the other one against joint leaders Armagh, the Red Hands face a tough run-in, but their destiny is in their own hands.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game against Sligo. They beat Armagh by seven or eight points, so they’re obviously a quality team,” said McShane.

“But we have great spirit in the team, there’s a great buzz about the panel.”

Tyrone remain unbeaten, having fought back to earn a draw with Longford at Pearse Park last time out, displaying spirit that impressed their new boss.

“They were bitterly disappointed not to have won, which is also a good sign, because we hadn’t lost, we had drawn the game.

“As I said to them, promotion is still within grasp. If we win our last two games we’ll be promoted, so we have it in our own hands, and we’ll see what we can do.

“We will have our work cut out with Sligo, but we’ll try and improve on things that maybe weren’t up to the mark that we want them to be.”

“One of the things you try and build is character and resolve to go through times when things aren’t going well for you, when you have got your backs up against the wall, that you can respond.”

Former Antrim dual star CJ McGourty is beginning to find his feet in the Red Hand set-up. Following a subdued debut, he blossomed against Longford, hitting 2-4 as the sides battled out a thrilling 2-22 each draw.

The manager believes McGourty will become a majors influence both on and off the field.

“I knew the qualities that CJ would bring, not just as a hurler, but also as a leader on the field.

“I can see that at training and I can see him as a leader out on the pitch talking to players.

“It’s very telling that when Longford got the goal at the end, CJ was talking to the ones around him, telling them just to calm down, not to panic, that we still had time. And he was right.

“His qualities as a player, he’s not anywhere near match fitness yet. He has had a couple of injuries that have held him back, but he’s out there and he scored 2-4.

“I look forward to seeing him when he has had another four or five games under his belt, and what he’ll bring to it.

“He adds that top level experience and know-how. He knows how to plunder a goal, that has always been his forte as a player throughout his career, and we’re delighted to have him.”

Both of Sligo’s previous games have been played on their own Markievicz Park pitch, and should the Red Hand get the better of them at Omagh, it will set up a decisive final tie against Ulster neighbours Armagh a week later.