GAA Football

McGeary excited about potential McKenna-McShane partnership

Kieran McGeary turned in a superb performance for Tyrone as they won in Castlebar. Picture by Seamus Loughran

KIERAN McGeary is excited by the long-term prospect of seeing what a full-forward line of Conor McKenna and Cathal McShane could do for Tyrone.

The absence of Allstar full-forward McShane through injury has been somewhat offset by the return of McKenna from Australia, with the Eglish man's bustling style making a huge impact on their attack already.

He scored 2-2 and set up several others, including Darragh Canavan's goal, in a high-scoring win over Mayo that saved Tyrone's Division One status.

McGeary was a team-mate of McKenna on the minor team that reached the 2013 All-Ireland final (which they lost to Mayo), and says he hasn't looked out of place since his return.

“Take a look at what he did out there today. He's a natural athlete, he didn't look out of place. He looked like he'd been one of our more experienced players for a number of years.

“He's a big lad, he's strong, he's as down-to-earth as it comes. Honestly, you wouldn't have thought he was a professional athlete, the way he's come back to training.

“He has a fantastic attitude, he wants to be out there today, rain, snow or blow, he wants to be playing with a Tyrone jersey on his back. I think he proves that every time he goes out on the pitch, and he'll continue to do his best.

“I went to Donaghmore to watch him potentially play for Eglish, he was only home a few days. There was a massive crowd that day to watch him, and he wasn't playing.

“You're thinking can he get up to the expectations but he's a fantastic athlete and this is where he wants to be.

“I remember Kiddo playing as a minor, I played with him, and he was no different. He's the exact same player. Look at every team, they're making the most of the mark.

“He's a great asset for us. You could play him centre-half-back next week and he could run the legs off a centre-half-forward, you could put him wing-half-back, you could put him wing-half-forward.

“He's an extremely versatile player. We're extremely lucky to have him home considering big Cathal is out.

“You'd like to know and see what those two could do up front if they're both played inside. We'll take McKenna now that we have him.”

After a flat display in Ballybofey, Tyrone hit 3-14 in MacHale Park to edge out Mayo, as they've had a tendency to do down west.

They head back to Donegal on Sunday and McGeary, whose own display for Tyrone was outstanding, admits there is much for them to rectify from the four-point League defeat.

“We were [stung]. We were up against probably a better team last week, in better conditions. That's not to say we didn't see them coming, they just outgunned us all over the pitch and they scored more.

“[We are] underdogs, completely, I don't think there's one person would differ to that. We're against it next week, going back up there. Their tails are up, we've survived to stay in Division One but nobody really talks about League come Championship. That chapter's over. We've a lot of preparation to do inside seven days, we'll do our best and try to get everything right.

“There's a lot of things we need to sort out. Where do you start? We didn't get our own kickouts in play the last day, their kickouts were better, they ran harder, we missed tackles where they didn't.

“The goals they took, they won the game. We scored one late, it was the biggest four-point win for them, it should have been more and they probably know that.

“I don't know where you go about starting to nail one thing that will fix it. There's a lot of things that need to be put in place, and there's a lot of work to do in seven days."

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