Inconsistent Red Hands out to ease their fears

By Niall McCoy

TYRONE’S Division One campaign has been a real up and down affair – but they can take a major step towards safety with a home win over neighbours Monaghan on Saturday.

It says it all about how tight the top flight has been that the Red Hands could still possibly make a final, but it would take a ridiculous set of circumstances akin to picking every winner at Cheltenham this week.

Relegation – and avoiding it – is the main aim going into the weekend, especially with a trip to Croke Park to face in-form Dublin rounding out their campaign.

There was the opening-day win over Roscommon when they looked fairly lacklustre but found something after Conn Kilpatrick’s controversial red card.

They were well beaten by league leaders Derry and pipped by Galway before it looked like another bad day at the office following a really poor first half against Mayo. Darren McCurry was sprung from the bench and he dove-tailed beautifully with Darragh Canavan to rescue things though, the hosts winning by four points having trailed by three at the interval.

Four points was the margin in Killarney last time out, Tyrone on the wrong side of the result as they lost to Kerry.

Again, it was very hard to nail down how good or bad Tyrone were in the Kingdom. They started extremely brightly, finished extremely brightly but went off the boil completely for the middle third.

It’s been that sort of league season, spells of very good and spells of very bad. Those 70-minute performances, the good and the bad, have been absent. Monaghan though should focus minds, especially with a win putting them in a very strong survival situation.

Cathal McShane came off the bench against Kerry, as did Kieran McGeary. Mattie Donnelly is a fortnight closer to a return and overall there is a sense that they’re getting a bit of a break on injuries.

For Brian Dooher and the absent Feargal Logan, a 70-minute positive performance would be very much welcomed in Omagh.

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