THEY may have lost the Battle of Ballybofey but Tyrone haven’t been sidetracked from their ultimate league goal according to Ronan McNamee.
Donegal were full value for their six-point win on Saturday night but the Aghyaran man hopes it will be a mere footnote when the book is closed on this year’s Division One campaign.
The top two will progress to the Division One decider on April 9 – the semi-final stage has been scrapped – and Tyrone’s destiny lies firmly in their own hands ahead of their final league encounters against Mayo and Kerry.
On Sunday Tyrone welcome the first of those two sides to Healy Park. The accepted narrative is that Mayo are a bogey team for Tyrone, and with good reason – they’ve played five times in championship football and the Red Hands sole victory was a 2008 qualifier.
While Mayo’s league record against Mickey Harte’s side isn’t so hot – they lost three years running between 2013 and 2015 – McNamee warns that their relegation-threatened side will be a wounded animal this Sunday.
He said: “They’ll not be too far away come the end of the year, I imagine. They’re always there or thereabouts. They’re never that tarrah in the league to be honest so it’s no real shock. But they’re like a wounded animal at the moment – they really need points as they don’t want to be dragged into a relegation battle.
“We’ll be looking for two points too so it sets up a fiery enough encounter after last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss. We’ve a good enough record against them in the league, but when it comes to everything else they’ve a good enough record against us.”
Throw-in at Healy Park on Sunday 3pm
FULL PREVIEW IN TODAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE