Munroe braced for derby clash

By Alan Rodgers

ONE win from two games is providing the perfect platform for the Tyrone hurlers in Division 2B of the National League as they prepare for another crucial clash this weekend when old rivals Donegal visit Omagh for the round three clash.

Victory over Roscommon a fortnight ago followed the loss to Derry in the opening round of this year’s competition.

Now, though, Stephen McGarry and the players are under no illusions about the importance of this latest tie and the extent of the task facing them.

Donegal and Tyrone have produced many closely contested clashes in recent years. There’s nothing to suggest that this weekend’s will be any different, and two more points are absolutely vital for both teams as they bid to secure survival and perhaps push for promotion.

The victory for the Red Hands over Roscommon was undoubtedly a positive. Among those who played well in the game at Carrickmore was Cormac Munroe. The former Tyrone footballer was pleased with the result, but well aware of the challenges ahead as well.

“It was good to have got off to the winning start against Roscommon. We knew that we didn’t play the hurling that we could have against Derry and the second round was better. But there’s still a lot more in us,” he said.

“We’ll definitely need to improve more from the Roscommon game. We had just came out to get a performance and thankfully we did that. The points are on the board and that’s really all we wanted.

“The Derry game was an interesting one because we got a bit complacent in the first half and then came back and got the two goals in the second half. Two men being sent off wasn’t good, but thankfully things worked out better.”

This weekend’s match against Donegal is being held prior to the meeting of the Red Hands and Mayo in the National Football League.

The Saturday afternoon throw-in for the hurling should provide a boost for Tyrone with the added number of supporters in for both matches.

However, they face a Donegal team which, like Tyrone, is at very much a crossroads in this year’s campaign. They defeated a depleted Wicklow comfortably in the opening round, before losing to Derry last time out.

It means that the options are clear for both Tyrone and Donegal heading into this weekend’s clash.

A win would put either of them in the mix for a potential shot at promotion. However, defeat would leave them looking anxiously towards the bottom of the table and needing points to steer clear of the relegation zone.

“We’ll be going into the Donegal game aiming to play at the same level as against Roscommon. If we can do that and get the points, then it would be great for the rest of the campaign,” added Munroe.

He was, of course, a member of the Tyrone football panel for a number of seasons, but has now decided to give the hurlers a good go.

The fact that he was a key member of the Carrickmore Eire Óg team which reached the Ulster final means that his competitive edge is sharp for this spring’s inter-county action.

“I was with the footballers and then I was really enjoying the Eire Óg hurling so I decided to give the Tyrone team a go,” he added.

“The plan is I suppose to see if we can get a result on Saturday and then take things from there in the next few weeks.

“Donegal will always be hard to beat and there’s been some battles between us over the years with them winning a few and then us.

“We’ve just been preparing for this game and we’ll see what happens when things get going on Saturday.”

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