Tyrone’s McGeary hopes to make a hasty return

By Alan Rodgers

FORMER Footballer of the Year Kieran McGeary has overcome enough obstacles during a glittering career for Tyrone not to be too concerned about the injury which ruled him out of last weekend’s All-Ireland win over Cork.

Just moments were left until the throw-in when the Pomeroy clubman sustained an injury in the warm-up. It meant a late withdrawal, an even later opportunity for his replacement Ben Cullen, and McGeary being forced to watch frustratingly from the sidelines.

It was another setback for the lively defender, whose performance in the run of the Red Hands to the 2021 Sam Maguire Cup proved so crucial. Now, after sustaining that injury shortly before the throw-in against Cork in Tullamore, he’s relishing the chance to be back in the starting 15 for this weekend’s clash against Roscommon.

“I took a bit of a knock in the warm-up but hopefully I’ll be alright for next weekend’s match. It’s a quick seven days, but we’ll see what happens,” said McGeary when reflecting on being forced out just before the start against the Rebels.

McGeary was a member of the Tyrone team which won the All-Ireland U-21 title nine years ago and is now one of the most experienced senior players.

However, while watching from the sidelines when he should have been playing was frustrating, it also gave him the chance to put the Red Hands latest win and the challenges ahead into perspective.

“We had a solid enough performance against Cork, even though the first half was probably shaky enough.

“That’s the way football goes at the moment because it’s going to be 45 or 50 minutes before one team can dominate and we’re expecting that in every game,” he added.

“The goal was a big factor in us turning the corner, but they threatened right to the final whistle. It’s a two in a row of wins which was questioned during the week before the game. So, we’ll see what happens next weekend.

“The more wins that you get, then the more confidence builds as individuals and collectively as a team. It helps you believe in what you’re doing, but the week turnaround between the Cork game and this week means that the bit of confidence can only take you so far.”

Tyrone remain unbeaten by Roscommon in championship football and hopes will be high that they can continue their dominance against the Rossies in Omagh.

After losing to Mayo in the provincial series, the Connacht side finished third in their All-Ireland series group and earned their place in the preliminary quarter-final thanks to a high-scoring 3-20 to 1-20 win over Cavan.

The counties met in the National League earlier this year when Tyrone won with ease against opponents who finished the league season relegated to Division Two.

“It’s getting thick and heavy now and you have to change and adapt to whatever opposition you’re meeting,” added McGeary.

“Having home advantage in the preliminary quarter-final doesn’t really make that much difference to be honest.

“We’d have been happy to go away to some other team and I’m sure there’s teams that are content enough coming to Omagh.

“It’s not really a factor for us because you have to focus on your own game and getting that right. That’s what we’ll be working on this week.”

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