TYRONE head into Sunday’s Ulster Championship defence against Derry with the pressure of the favourites tag upon them, yet manager Mickey Harte says that that is a good thing.
The Red Hands begin their quest for back-to-back Anglo-Celt crowns at Celtic Park against an Oak Leaf side which just recently suffered the ignominy of relegation into NFL Division Three.
Harte knows that his side are expected to prevail but it is an expectation that he is comfortable with.
“I’ve always suggested that there is more trouble going into a competition or into play a game where people don’t think you have any hope.
“I’ll not take it as any weight of expectation, I will take it as an endorsement of the belief that is in the quality of these players that we have now.
“They have to turn on a performance that says you are right to believe in us. I do believe in these players and I am not going in to this match saying that we are the poor mouth people. I will be going in saying we believe that we are good enough to win this game. We believe that if we play to our full potential that we will win the game.”
He said that they would be under greater pressure if there is no hope for them, which is actually the position that their opponents Derry find themselves in.
Tyrone approach the championship following a mixed league campaign. They lost their final three games – to Donegal, Mayo and Kerry – missing out on reaching the league final.
PREVIEW AND ROUND-UP OF ALL COUNTY LEAGUE ACTION IN TODAY’S TYRONE HERALD