GAA Football

Tyrone suffer 'soul-destroying' loss to 'relentless' Mayo

Keith Higgins (right) scored Mayo's first goal in their convincing win over Tyrone in Omagh. Picture Seamus Loughran
Kenny Archer at Healy Park

Allianz Football League Division one, round two: Tyrone 0-10 Mayo 2-13

Soul-destroying. Hard to handle. Daunting. Damage limitation. Chances run out very fast. Critical.

Delighted. Special. Full of enthusiasm. Relentless. Phenomenal.

The contrast between the words and phrases uttered by the respective managers illustrated the gulf in quality on the day as Mayo handed out a hammering in Healy Park.

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte was calm, even smiling at times, but he didn’t try to point out any positives as managers often do in such circumstances.

Similarly, although James Horan is far too experienced to get carried away by a victory in round two of the League, he didn’t disguise his pleasure at the performance put in by the westerners.

Mayo gained revenge for their 12-point home humiliation by Tyrone in last year’s League, and also showed that 2018 may have been a blip rather than a definite downturn in their footballing fortunes.

Instead, it’s Tyrone who are struggling, pointless and bottom of the division on scoring difference, after an even worse defeat than the previous weekend’s opener in Kerry.

“That's the reality of life and the place we find ourselves in right now,” said Harte. “We have to accept we have a huge amount of work to do to be staying at this level of football.”

The Mayo boss acknowledged that “We probably have some extra work done over Tyrone” but Harte insisted: "We're not looking for excuses. We were beaten by a better team today, we were beaten by a better team last week and that's the level we want to compete at.

“We need to do something about it ourselves we need to be better ourselves the next day and the day after that and the day after that and if we're not we'll find ourselves out of this division.”

Tyrone head to Roscommon next Sunday, and have three more home matches, including against Ulster rivals Monaghan and Cavan, so Harte still retains a certain amount of hope:

“We're fortunate at this moment of time that there are still five chances to get some points - but chances run out very fast.

“Every game that goes by it becomes harder to ensure that you're going to stay in this division and we have no other ambition at this moment of time other than to stay in the division. If we manage that we'll believe that the latter part of the league will be good for us…

“Life is so much easier when you are looking at the top of the table. When you are at the bottom every ball counts, every bounce of the ball counts. From here on in that’s what we have to deal with – every single bounce of the ball will be critical.”

In complete contrast to Tyrone, Mayo are at the top of the table with maximum points, and Horan was thrilled with the input from several new faces:

“We have some good work done and we had Fionn McDonagh and Ciaran Tracey, two wing-forwards, and Michael Plunkett at centre-half-back, they did extremely well. They are very good players, very mobile, very athletic and full of enthusiasm.

“We are delighted with how they have done, they have added to the team and added to competition. Fionn and Ciaran had 1-5 between them, they have to be delighted with that”.

As do Mayo.

Tyrone? Not so much.

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