Sports

No new injury worries ahead of All-Ireland QF

Thursday, 27 July 2017

TYRONE have no fresh injury concerns as they prepare for the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final on August 5.
They will return to Croke Park with serious intent, determined to banish the painful memories of their clash with Mayo at the same stage last year.
Full-back Ronan McNamee still carries the mental scars from that narrow defeat at Croke Park, but he and his colleagues intent to leave nothing to chance this time.
The Red Hands' opponents will emerge this weekend from the final round of Qualifiers, when Armagh face Kildare and Down take on Monaghan.
 "Year on year you're going to improve. Last year if we'd played on another couple of minutes, we would have got an equaliser," said McNamee.
Speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland series in Loughmacrory, he added: "It was like we were the only team playing that day that wanted to win the game but we just couldn't put the ball over the bar.
“It was the same against Mayo in the League, where they beat us by a point. In the last 10 minutes, we had 10 attacks, they had one, and their attack was the winning point.
“Ours was seven wides and three misplaced passes. The three Championship games we've played this year, we've been racking up scores, but it's just by chance it didn't happen for us before.
“Last year we could have scored 1-22 against Mayo but we didn't, and it cost us in the end up.
“Fingers crossed that we can keep racking up the scores and not freeze again. Everybody's well capable of kicking points."
Tyrone have been criticised for their perceived weakness in front of goal, but big scoring returns in all three Ulster Championship games have gone some way towards silencing the detractors.
“You could go out one day and score 1-22, the next day you might score 10 points and it could win you a game, depending on how the opposition are set up," McNamee added.
“There are teams that are going out like Westmeath against Dublin, going man-for-man, why would you want to do that? What benefit is that to any person, let alone any team?
“We'll worry about not conceding as much and then if you're getting into the position to score like the Donegal game, Kieran McGeary, Petie Harte, Mattie Donnelly, Padraig Hampsey, all well capable of kicking points. They all play crucial roles for their clubs.
“Padraig Hampsey might wear 2 or 4 on his back for Tyrone but if you go to a Coalisland game, he's playing middle of the field and lording it.
“Just because you have him in corner-back wearing a county jersey doesn't mean you're not capable of splitting the posts when you get up there.
“If you're committing to the attack, you're confident if the ball comes to anybody in a shooting position, you'll be able to score."
But, commenting on a difficult spell in the first half of the Ulster final against Down, when the Red Hands struggled to find their momentum, he commented: "Our shooting let us down, 17 shooting chances and only took seven. You know if you're playing well within each other. These games are cagey and you want to set up properly and not concede too much.
“Half-time came at a good time to regroup and settle down and go at it again. We were very strong in the first 10 minutes after half time.
“Mattie went in the line one time and fisted it over so maybe having that composed head that if people missing chances to get in close and take a handy option rather than the spectacular all the time.
“Personally I felt we were still in control, even if it didn't look like that."
Living the dream
Meanwhile, teenage sensation David Mulgrew is living the dream of a senior inter-county footballer, having nailed down a starting place on the Tyrone team.
“I have to thank Mickey (Harte). He has shown belief in me, and he gave me a start in the Ulster final," said the 19-year-old.
“Last year I wasn't really making the team, but I always visualised trying to get on to the team. At times I never really thought that I would get the chance."
Mulgrew is still finding it hard to believe that he's a part of this great group of players, and he's standing shoulder to shoulder to heroes with All-Ireland medals.
“I remember the first time I came into the changing room and saw them, they were massive, and to get playing with them is unbelievable.
“I was watching Sean (Cavanagh) when I was a young cub and always looked up to him. And to be playing with him now is just brilliant."
But Croke Park will hold no fears for the exciting attacker. He played there in the 2013 All-Ireland minor final aged just 15.
“It will be great to get back to Croke Park, that's where you want to play, and there's plenty of experience in the team of playing there," he said.
Mulgrew has had to adapt to the system and learn to play the Tyrone way, combining his attacking instincts with hard work and a willingness to track back.
“It's tough when you have to defend and try to get forward as well. But that's the game plan. That's what Mickey wants me to do and I'll do it.
“Every man that comes on makes an impact. You see Ronan O'Neill coming on and scoring two goals. There's that strength in depth and there's a great bond in the team and that's what you need."

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