Tyrone camogs face into a stiffer test

By Michael McMullan

TYRONE manager Paul O’Grady will know more about his team’s credentials on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Hands were comprehensive winners over O’Grady’s native Mayo on the opening weekend of action and now face Wicklow on Saturday at O’Neill’s Healy Park.

O’Grady, who also manages the Omagh hurlers, moved to Tyrone – where his fiancée hails from – and is balancing the workload of overseeing two teams.

Despite a fine showing against Mayo, the manager caveats it again the Westerners’ lack of preparation with a meagre three sessions under their belt.

“It is a winning start but you are not telling the real truth yet,” he said.

“Our own preparation is going pretty well, we started on January 7 and it’s so far sogood.

“We have had good numbers up at training and we got a couple of challenge matches so wehave had a look at all our players.”

It has given O’Grady a chance to run his eye over the squad and he’s thankful they are “not too bad” in terms of injuries with the season now in full flow.

“It was a bit of a hammering,” he said of Tyrone’s 5-19 to 0-13 win last weekend.

“Wicklow had a big win as well (2-17 to 0-2 against Louth) so we are not getting too carried away with our win, we have got a big game now.

“That will be the real tale of where we are, if we are performing well or if it was just good luck against Mayo.”

O’Grady has coached at u-20 level with Sligo hurlers and forms a management team in Tyrone with Niall Donnelly looking after the coaching alongside selectors Ger Fox and Liam Flannigan, the latter of who looks after the analysis side ofthings.

Tyrone were defensively sound last week with attacking trio Lara Devlin, Roisin McErlean and Cara Little doing the damage up front to lead the Mayo defence a merry dance.

“We want to win the league but the end of the year is the big plan for me.” O’Grady said of his hopes for the season ahead.

Then the All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship comes around, Tyrone will be paired with Tipperary, Armagh, Down and Wicklow in Group One.

There are plenty of twists and turns, beginning with the visit of Wicklow this weekend, but O’Grady dares to gaze at the potential of a successful season

“Hopefully we can stay up at the top of that tier instead of coming down the way,” hesaid.

“I would like to be finishing on the last day, at the highest point.”

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