Red Hand hurlers ready to step up to next level insists McShane
TYRONE manager Michael McShane has no doubt that his players are ready for the step up to a higher level.
Saturday’s NHL Division 3A final against Armagh guarantees that an Ulster county is on the way upwards.
And the Red Hand boss feels the time is right for a team that has narrowly missed out on promotion on a number of occasions.
“I absolutely do, and I said that from day one when I took on the job with Tyrone.
“I felt that they were a team that were punching below their weight, that they’re good enough to go up and hold their own at a higher level,” he said.
“That’s the test we want to be able to take on. We want to be able to go up there and perform against teams of a higher quality.
“But we’ll think about that after next weekend, we’re just really focused on Armagh now.”
Tyrone went straight through to the decider with an unbeaten League run, while Armagh had to contest a semi-final against Roscommon.
Despite an impressive sequence of results, McShane continues to seek improved levels of consistency.
“Our performances over the last couple of games haven’t been where we want them to be.
“We have been training fairly hard going into those games and that probably impacted a bit on the performance.
“But we’re in a good place right now, we have had two weeks from the Louth game to prepare for the final, and we were able to focus on training.”
The Ballycastle native guided the Red Hands to the Nicky Rackard Cup final in his first season in charge, and now to a League decider a year later.
His hurling philosophies, which have proved so successful at Slaughtneil, have brought new dimensions to the game in Tyrone.
“They’re a really good group of lads, they’re mustard keen to try and be the best that they can be, they’re taking on board everything that we’re working on with them.
“They’re a really talented group of players who deserve to be at a higher level and to test themselves there, but we have Armagh standing between us and doing that, and that’s going to be a very difficult task.
“It’s not perfect, there’s lots of improvement to be made, but it’s nice to come out of games winning them and knowing that we can get better.
“And that’s all we’re trying to do week on week at training, is focus on the things that we can do better and improve our performances.”
One of McShane’s most important objectives this weekend is to ensure that his players maintain their focus on the game, and avoid being distracted by the importance of the occasion.
“It’s just another game, and that’s the approach we’re taking to it.
“If we get caught up in the big occasion, the big game and the importance of it, and what’s going to come out of it at the other end, then we’ll lose focus on what we have to do.
“We have got 70 minutes to go out and perform to the best that we can, and that’s what we’re focusing on with the players, that’s the only thing that’s on the table for us.
“We have to focus on playing to the best that we can, and if we do that, I’m confident that we’ll get the result that we want.
“If we do that, and the result doesn’t follow, well at least we have given it our best shot, and that’s all we can do.”