Padraig Hampsey hopes fresh faces can help Tyrone rediscover their form

Ryan Jones was one of nine newcomers on the Tyrone panel who made their debuts for the Red Hands in Wednesday night's win over Fermanagh Picture: Oliver McVeigh
Ryan Jones was one of nine newcomers on the Tyrone panel who made their debuts for the Red Hands in Wednesday night's win over Fermanagh Picture: Oliver McVeigh

ALL-IRELAND winning captain Padraig Hampsey believes the introduction of a raft of new talent into the Tyrone senior squad can only be a positive thing as they aim to return to the form of 2021.

The Red Hands began with six newcomers in their win over Fermanagh in the Dr McKenna Cup opener at Healy Park and also sprung another three from the bench in the second half and the Coalisland Fianna clubman feels that they all demonstrated what they are capable off.

“There were a number of players who made their senior debuts for Tyrone and they all acquitted themselves well and stepped up to the mark and showed what they can do at this level and of course it’s always nice to start with a win. I suppose the first game in the new season is all about blowing the cobwebs off and we did that tonight,” said Hampsey.

“The new boys that have come in at pre-season have worked hard and they earned the right to play and they performed well and that’s a bonus for us because it will push on the boys who didn’t get a game tonight as well as the lads who are doing rehab at the minute. You need that competitive nature within a squad and new players coming in will always bring that.”

Hampsey was one of 10 players who featured in Wednesday night’s win that played in the All-Ireland final two years ago and he singled out a fellow defender for special praise.

“Cormac Munroe had a brilliant game,” he said.

“He played very well in the Tyrone Championship for Carrickmore last year and he has trained very hard and deserved his place there tonight and I would say it could be hard to get that jersey off him as he is a tough boy. He has a good physical presence and a good attitude and that toughness about him, as long as he can control that because that is important to.”

Tyrone now play Derry next Wednesday night when they will aim to book their place in the McKenna Cup semi final and Paudie knows that they will have to improve against the Ulster champions.

“In the first half against Fermanagh we may have been playing with a bit of a breeze but our conversion rate was something like only 22 per cent which is poor,” he stated.

“Some of our shot selection wasn’t great but it’s the first outing of the year and the boys will learn from that when we look back on the video and that will give us something to work on.

"There is always a bit of an edge when you play against Derry. I suppose last year we were disappointed with our performance against them in the Championship but fair play to them ,they were the better team on the day and backed that up by going on to win the Ulster title. They won’t have the Glen boys but they will bring that edge to their game at Owenbeg and it will be a tough game but one that we will look forward to.

"We won’t be looking beyond Derry but it would be nice to get a result to give us another outing before the start of the National League. The boys are training hard. We probably didn’t have that pre-season last year and it’s nice to have it now. "We had the team holiday and stuff last year and we probably didn’t have that base but we have that base now and the boys are pushing hard.”