SOME positives outweigh whatever immediate frustrations Tyrone may be harbouring after their high profile clash with All-Ireland champions, Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday night finished level.
Late scores denied the Red Hands victory against the Dubs for the second time in three years. But it’s the performance more than the result which provides the ideal indication of their current status after the 1-7 to 0-10 outcome before an attendance of 28,000.
Both teams missed a number of key players and this game will have little bearing if the counties do meet later this year in the championship. Nevertheless, Tyrone’s ability in terms of disciplined defending and sustained periods of aerial supremacy augurs well and was praised by team manager, Mickey Harte afterwards.
“You always know that you’re under threat against Dublin no matter how many points you’re up against them because they’re a quality side and capable of turning things their way in an instant,” he said.
“The sending off of Mark Bradley didn’t help us because it’s hard enough to play with 15 against them, never mind 14 players. We were a bit wayward in some of our finishing and if we’d been a bit more clinical in that regard then we could have been in a better position.
“But I can’t take anything away from the players who worked their socks off in difficult conditions. Of course Dublin aren’t in the form that they’ll be in later in the year and there’s plenty of reasons why they weren’t on song as normal.
“They were still good enough to be very difficult to defeat and that’s why they’re so difficult to beat. A draw is a good result now looking back, although it’s a point lost when you look at how we were five points up. It would have been cruel on us not to get at least a point because our performance deserved that and nobody would have begrudged us the win.”
Home matches against Cavan and Monaghan now beckon the Red Hands who have next week off from the league action. It will, then, be a case of maintaining the momentum of an encouraging and satisfying start to the league.