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Tyrone boss has sights on top two finish

Cathal McShane on the attack against Monaghan

Cathal McShane on the attack against Monaghan

TYRONE secured another vital victory in Division One of the National League with a fair degree of confidence on Saturday night, and the Red Hands are now targeting a place in the final after an encouraging start to their campaign.

The final score of 0-14 to 0-10 against Monaghan at Healy Park means that Tyrone are currently in second place on the table. It’s a prime position which leaves them well placed to challenge for the decider as the competition heats up.

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Big games lie ahead against Cavan, Donegal, Mayo and Kerry, but Mickey Harte and his players are looking towards them with a strong air of confidence. The team manager was also relieved at this latest win as he is well aware of the absolute need to avoid slipping into a relegation battle.

“We won the two league points and now have five – if this game had been lost Monaghan were going to be on seven and we would have been looking at a relegation fight,” he said.

“This is a very tight league and teams cannot slip up. We’re in this league to win it, Tyrone certainly want to be in the top two and the final but that’s not going to be easily done.

“Cavan are next up, we’re travelling to Donegal and Kerry and have Mayo. There’s a big challenge in each of those games and we’re going to learn a lot from every match. Hopefully we can stay injury free, get the balance right and not overtax anyone because it’s certainly a heavy schedule.”

Tyrone would have preferred a more comfortable cruise to the final whistle before an attendance of 5,635 at Healy Park. A number of goal chances were missed, including a first half Peter Harte penalty, and Monaghan were still in contention right to the finish despite having two players sent off.

But the numerical advantage didn’t work to plan, although Harte did acknowledge the problems with capitalising on the sendings off. He also reflected on those missed goal opportunities and the need to retain possession as the keenly contested tie reached its climax under the Healy Park floodlights.

“We were disappointed with our second half performance. The game was won in the first half when we played really well and kicked some great scores. We were very happy at half-time, even though the penalty was missed and another shot for goal came off the post,” he added.

“But Monaghan also missed a number of chances in the first half. It’s swings and roundabouts and ultimately the win was the most important thing.

“The players were up for the challenge, they played a lot of good football with composure and patience and produced some great finishing.”

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