McMahon hopes month-long break stands to Tyrone

By Barry O’Donnell

A MONTH on from their painful Ulster exit at the hands of Donegal, Tyrone are primed for a quick rematch with their fierce Tir Conaill rivals, with assistant manager Joe McMahon hopeful that the extended break will work in the side’s favour.

The Red Hands looked out on their feet at the end of that energy sapping struggle at Celtic Park, the exertions of back to back weekends being involved in gruelling extra-time encounters seeming to take its toll.

The four weeks of inactivity will have enabled the squad to recharge the batteries and refocus their sights on the All-Ireland series which will involve group games against Cork, Clare and first up Donegal this Saturday evening in Ballybofey.

Joe McMahon is upbeat about the team’s prospects heading back into the Championship arena, and feels that the protracted break did come at an opportune time.

“It’s good to get that bit of time as the fixtures left it so intense with the National League and then a quick turnaround to the Championship,” he said.

“We have had two extra time games in the Championship already so it has been a hectic schedule but the players have responded well.

“The young lads that came up in this year have all given a good account of themselves and it has strengthened our squad up.

“You are going to have to dip into that depth in the squad as the season goes on because of the way that the fixtures are going to come thick and fast.”

McMahon and Tyrone boss Brian Dooher were among the spectators at Portlaoise last Sunday running their eye over the superb crop of Tyrone Under-20s who sealed the All-Ireland crown.

The Omagh man was impressed with what he saw from Paul Devlin’s young charges and the hope is that a number of this side will now make the step up as well.

“It was an unbelievable display of pace and quality right throughout the team,” he said.

“The defence were very solid and well capable of the one v one match ups and as a group they were able to hunt in packs and as soon as they got the turnover they transferred the ball so fast up the pitch and Kerry struggled to deal with that.

“Tyrone managed the scoreboard very well as each time Kerry scored they were able to respond and fair play to the lads, they deserved their victory.”

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