Having made his Championship debut against Down back in 2005, Martin Penrose appreciates the sense of anticipation among the younger members of the Tyrone panel in the build-up to a potential start.
However he has been impressed by their maturity and has little doubt they will adapt to the big stage at the Athletic Grounds.
“Championship day whoever you face tells you a lot about the two teams and where they stand. Armagh is going to be a big game in their own back yard. 2005 was my first year and it took me two or three years to build up the experience so the young boys coming in now will feel something similar. But they are progressing well, coming on quickly and getting used to the set up.”
After building a superb twelve match winning sequence at the outset of the season, Tyrone’s successful run was abruptly halted by Kildare who ruthlessly disposed of them in the closing fifteen minutes of the Division Two League Final. Marty believes that in hindsight that loss may work in the Red Hands favour.
“The Kildare game was the perfect preparation to go into the Championship. Hopefully that will stand to us and we will learn from what we did wrong going in against Armagh. But the Championship is a totally different story, you have to perform on the day.”
Penrose came onto the inter-county scene at the tail-end of the intoxicating Tyrone/Armagh rivalry which lit up the summers during the middle of the last decade. He feels that featuring in such bone-shuddering clashes can only help a player’s development.
“For me it was a bonus that year (2005) playing football for Tyrone. They were big big clashes back then with Armagh. It definitely stood to us and helped us become better players as a result of being involved in those type of games.”