Colm Cavanagh: Wounded Tyrone will rebuild for Championship
Tyrone face eight weeks of soul-searching and self-analysis as they survey the debris from a league campaign gone wrong.
The Red Hands will go into their Ulster Championship clash with Derry on the back of three straight defeats, and midfielder Colm Cavanagh says it’s vital that they sort out the problems and put things right.
First and foremost, reflections will start with an in-depth analysis of Sunday’s seven-point defeat to Kerry at Fitzgerald Stadium.
“We have to now regroup and take a look at things that went wrong in the last three games and work on them and try and put them right,” said Cavanagh.
Not for the first time this season, the potency of Tyrone’s attack was called into question as they managed just two points from play, although they did end a goal drought with two Peter Harte strikes, one from a penalty.
“We only got two points from play and that isn’t good enough. Sometimes there are different factors as to why that happens such as good defending and wrong decision making.
“We will look at that on video and try and work out why we aren’t getting more scores from play because that is a big problem.
“Next up is Derry in the championship and while that seems far away it won’t be long slipping in. The club season starts next weekend so the games will be coming thick and fast but that is the way that you like it.”
Just a few weeks ago, Tyrone were Division One leaders, but it all fell apart in the final three games, which they lost to Donegal, Mayo and Kerry.
“Things were going so well for Tyrone after four games as they set at the summit of the division one table but it all went pear shaped in the last three outings.
“It was a disappointing end to the league campaign for us as we had high hopes of reaching the final.
“We began well but we always knew that we had tough fixtures left in the latter stages of the league and it just didn’t work out for us.”
Kerry made hay in the Killarney sunshine during the first half on Sunday, racing into a ten points lead as their opponents struggled to get going.
“The damage was done in the first half. We got off to a very poor start and in truth it was probably a damage limitation exercise after that.
“It was always going to be a tough ask to come to Killarney and get a result and we certainly made life a lot harder for ourselves conceding an early goal. You can’t afford to do that against any side let alone a top team like Kerry.”
With nothing to lose, Tyrone had to play for pride after the break, and a less cautious approach saw them succeed in clawing back a deficit that had been threatening to grow further.
“We said at half-time that we had to go out and make a game of it and I felt that we did that at times in the second half and I think that we could have taken more scores as we got into good positions.
“We would be happy with the second half but certainly not with the first half.”
But Cavanagh insisted that Kerry must be given credit for the quality and positive attitude they brought to the contest.
Threatened by relegation at the start of the day, they turned it around in spectacular fashion by booking a place in the league final against holders Dublin.
“You have to give Kerry credit for their display as well as they were very clinical, particularly in the first half when they missed nothing.
“They really put us to the sword. We knew that it was going to be a massive ask to get a result after the way we had played in the first half.”