EirGrid Ulster U20 Football Championship quarter-final
Tyrone v Down (Wednesday, O’Neills Healy Park, 7.30pm)
TYRONE manager Paul Devlin says he feels no pressure as they begin the defence of their Ulster and All-Ireland football titles tonight.
The Red Hands will have seven members of last year’s triumphant side on board when they take on Down in Omagh.
“I don’t feel any pressure from having won the All-Ireland last year for this season,” Devlin said.
“Last year is history now, it’s the past and chalk on the board. It shows where Tyrone are at, but it’s about going out again this year and starting from scratch. The first round is against Down, last year is non-existent now and it’s about moving on.
“It’s possible that we’ll reach the similar heights as last year if they work hard enough and get the rub of the green. If you work hard then you’ll get those calls and they’ll fall your way. As I say, it’s well within them.
“They are a fantastic bunch of lads, they’ve put in a serious amount of effort and there’s nothing surer that they will want to scale the heights again.”
Devlin warned that players who were in last year’s squad are not guaranteed a place in the team, which will be selected purely on form and merit.
“Of the 31 players who were on the panel last year, we’ve 16 still there this year. There’s a good balance there as a result. But again that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be stepping in and it’s up to them boys to carry on where they left off last year.”