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Tyrone player relaxed about clash with Derry

NIall Sludden is relaxed about facing Derry

For a man who is part of a team preparing to defend their Ulster title, Niall Sludden is more relaxed than we might expect.

The Dromore man, who is heading into what is just his second year of championship football, fielded questions at their championshp press conference without a hint of nerves.

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Even the suggestion that he was getting a reputation for indisicipline after being black carded for a tackle on Lee Keegan during the league, didn’t faze him.

“Social media, they are going to make a big thing about it, but to be honest I just get on with it. The way I look at it, everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes. The first day was harsh, but maybe the second one I deserved it. But that’s just the way it is. That’s the black card. You could say it is maybe a bit inconsistent. But that’s the rule that has been brought in and we just have to bear with it.”

That lackadaiscal, too-cool-for school attitude illustrates the confidence that has spread throughout the Tyrone camp.

They are Ulster champions, back on top of the tree, and even after a league campaign in which they lost their last three matches, the players still feel positive despite their critics suggesting that the Red Hands may be there for the taking.

“We were a bit inconsistent (in the league). We had a great start and faded away, but we are very confident in our ability to play against any team, but first and foremeost it is Derry. That’s all we are looking at. I know it is easy saying that, and it is a cliche but that is what drives our squad on, the competition. We just want to get through and hopefully make the semi-final.

“The most important thing is the belief and confidence that we have in ourselves and if some people want to back us that’s great. If they don’t want to back us, they can do that as well. I think the most important thing is what we think in the camp. That’s the most critical thing. That’s what Mickey always says to us.”

FULL PREVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S STRABANE CHRONICLE

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