Tyrone more focussed for second consecutive Nickey Rackard Cup final insists McShane
Nicky Rackard Cup final: Tyrone v Roscommon (today, Croke Park, 3pm, live on Sport TG4 YouTube)
TYRONE will return to the scene of last year’s crushing Nickey Rackard Cup final defeat with a renewal of spirit and a cause to pursue.
Manager Michael McShane has admitted that flaws in his side’s approach to the 2021 decider contributed to a heavy loss to Mayo.
The Red Hands contest a second successive final today, when a more focused group of players will take on Roscommon.
“Maybe last year we went down as tourists. We went down to the Nickey Rackard final and we got caught up in the hype of that,” said McShane.
“But that won’t happen this year, we’re going down for business, we’re going down to win the thing.
“We played the occasion last year, rather than the game, but we will be playing the game this year, I can assure you of that.
“I said that to the players in the group, that that was what happened last year, and they all agreed.
“We were also playing a very, very good Mayo team last year, who have this year qualified for the Christy Ring final.
“Roscommon are a very good team, too, we’ll be up against it, but we’ll go and give it the best we can.”
The competing teams are no stranger to each other, having met twice already this season, most recently in a comfortable win for the Connacht men in the group stage of the competition at Hyde Park a couple of weeks ago.
“We know them, the same as they’ll know us. They probably got the upper hand a bit with the win.
“But we got a real good look at them last week, we saw them at their best, and we know what we have ahead of us.
“It’s going to be a hell of a mountain for us, but we saw what our lads are prepared to put into it, and we’re going down to Croke Park with confidence.”
The Tyrone boss has developed a culture of defiance among his players, who have answered the call with a string of passionate, unflinching displays.
McShane is certain that if they bring their finest qualities to today’s contest, they can capture a second Rackard Cup title, to add to the 2014 success.
“They have been doing that since the middle of December, when we came back training.
“They have worked their socks off, and we won the National League, we have had one defeat all year, and we’re really looking forward to this final.”
Last weekend’s Ulster derby decided whether Tyrone or Donegal would go through to meet Roscommon in the title decider, and it was the Red Hands who reached the levels of intensity that secured a 1-23 to 1-19 win and a ticket to Croke Park.
“Every one of the 15 and the lads who came on, they were putting their bodies on the line, putting in the tackles and coming out of rucks with balls they had no right to come out of.
“They were getting blocks in, getting hooks in. I would say that was a brilliant game for a neutral to watch, because that was two Division 2B teams going at it, and I would say the standard was even above that.
“It was two teams playing in an All-Ireland semi-final who really wanted to win.
“You don’t win All-Irelands without having to put in a serious shift, and we put in a serious shift and we’re going to have to put in another one on Saturday.”