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The slate is wiped clean after Kerry hammering insists Tyrone goalkeeper Morgan

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan
Picture: Seamus Loughran.
BY FRANCIS MOONEY

NIALL Morgan has insisted that a six-goal pasting and an acute personal embarrassment won’t impair Tyrone confidence as they prepare to take on Kerry in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

The Red Hands have dealt with the fall-out from the Allianz League semi-final in Killarney, and processed the residue.

They approach this weekend’s Croke Park clash with clear heads and a renewed focus, the slate wiped clean.

“It was probably the most embarrassed I have ever been as an individual performance that day down in Killarney,” said the Tyrone goalkeeper.

“But I have had plenty of hammerings for Tyrone, I have had plenty of hammerings for the club, plenty of hammerings in schools' football.

“You get over these things, and it’s only one game. I think we learned a lot from it.

“A bit like Galway last year, in the second League game, they gave us a hammering down there, but it’s brushed under the carpet, and nobody really talks about it.

“It was the fact that this season is so short, and it was a semi-final that it’s probably a bigger deal than normal.

“But we have learned from that, we have done a lot of work, we have done our homework, and we used that to help us in the next few games.”

But the challenge for Tyrone is to find a way to stop the most talented forward division in the country.

The extent of the progress made since that ill-fated trip to Fitzgerald Stadium back in June will be revealed on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re in a position where we know the improvements we have to make, there’s no backing away from that.

“It’s the next game that counts and we’ll have to go back and do our work and try and atone for the last day.”

Kerry are further along the road in terms of development than a Tyrone team under the new management of Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher.

And this year they have found their form in an expression of an exciting and effective system.

“Kerry have been on the road with Peter Keane this last few years, they have got Maurice Fitz in with them, one of the best forwards that ever played the game,” said Morgan.

“They’re smart and individually they’re all technically gifted players and they work hard to be that.

“It’s up to us to do all the work that we can to make sure that we do plug those gaps and to make sure that we don’t offer up as many goal chances, because they are ruthless.”

With Covid cases cleared up, and Cathal McShane, Conor McKenna and Darragh Canavan injury-free, Tyrone go into this eliminator with a fully fit and available squad, a luxury they have not enjoyed previously this season.

“Having Cathal, an Allstar, coming off the bench, a big focal point for us, and then we had Darragh coming back from injury a bit quicker than we anticipated.

“They’re all big boosts to us and it’s great to have everybody available.”

Michael O’Neill, Conn Kilpatrick and Brian Kennedy, who were all forced out at various stages of the Ulster final victory over Monaghan, are expected to be fit to start this weekend.

“We lost Michael O’Neill early in the game, who brings a lot of energy to the team.

“Whenever you take those three out, they’re nearly the middle triangle, and it did take some of our focal point as well.”

“But I actually think that we did well on the long kick-outs after that.

“I thought we coped right and well, we got our shorts away when we needed to, we could maybe have won a few more break balls on the long ones, but overall I think we did alright.

“We had a big goal chance with Mattie, and Mattie thought he had a wee bit more time than he had.”

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