GAA Football

Tyrone can still make NFL play-offs: Kiearn McGeary

Tyrone's Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher suffered an opening day defeat to Donegal
Francis Mooney

Kieran McGeary is confident that Tyrone will make it to the National Football League semi-finals in spite of an opening day defeat to Donegal.

And he’s targeting Armagh this weekend as a turning point for a Red Hand side desperately seeking a first win under new manager Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher.

An old rivalry will be renewed at the Athletic Grounds, where the Orchard will be bidding to take a second successive Ulster scalp.

“First game out didn’t go our way, but there’s nothing to say that things won’t progress for us,” said the Red Hand vice-captain.

“And I’m relatively sure that that will happen.”

There’s no room for error now as Tyrone make the short trip across the county boundary to take on the Orchard.

A second defeat would scupper title aspirations and plunge them into a relegation battle.

But McGeary said they’re ready to throw everything into a mighty derby battle in Armagh city.

“We have played them and we all know the history that’s there between both teams.

“It will be ding-dust, and it will be high intensity, so we’ll see what happens.

“It’s a quick turnaround, we’ll look at them in detail as I’m sure they will have looked at us in detail.”

A new era without Mickey Harte began with an opening day home defeat, but Tyrone will take heart from many aspects of the clash with Donegal last weekend.

“The defeat and the score-line are disappointing, but we have a lot we can take from it, a lot we can learn from.

“And now that the games are coming pretty thick and fast, we don’t have time to dwell on one defeat too much.

“So we’re back at it again on Tuesday and Thursday, and we’ll get another rattle at it on Saturday coming.”

And the Pomeroy clubman called for patience from Tyrone supporters, insisting that a new management team must be given time to bed in and develop their own vision of how the county moves forward as a footballing force.

“You can’t expect that to happen immediately. I suppose in hindsight, a lot of people expect things to fall into place, but that’s unfortunately not how the jigsaw works.

“You have to come in and you have to understand what way things work and you have to put your own things in place.

“And that takes time. There’s a lot of teams that are only back at it, and we have all had just three weeks under our belt.

“We have a lot to learn from that defeat, but we definitely will learn from it.”

The one glaring positive for Tyrone last weekend was Paul Donaghy’s sensational performance.

The 22-year-old Dungannon man hit ten glorious points, and McGeary expects him to deliver consistently, as he did in his club’s championship triumph last season.

“It was a great debut, which was great to see. He had a fantastic debut and fair play to him.

“If anyone was watching the Tyrone Championship last year they know what he was capable of.

“It’s not really any surprise to us, or I’m sure to anybody watching it.

“We have to go again next weekend, so that’s a game I’m sure he will be looking forward to.”

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GAA Football