RED Hand hopes of another Ulster or All-Ireland Minor title to mark the end of the grade were dashed when it mattered most at the first hurdle on Sunday.
It proved to be a disappointing finale for Tyrone in a competition that they have dominated for decades, winning the Thomas Markham Cup eight times and topping the provincial Roll of Honour.
But the one point defeat against Derry (0-18 to 1-14) doesn’t detract from the bigger picture of ensuring the players involved develop into effective seniors with club and county.
Former county star and joint minor manager, Paul Devlin, says he’s willing to play any part at club or inter-county level, even though the various management teams for 2018 are not likely to be confirmed until the autumn.
Many members of this Minor team are also involved in the U-17s in the Ulster Final and Paul Devlin believes there is plenty of potential for Tyrone to do well despite Sunday’s outcome.
“It just didn’t happen for us, but that’s youth football and the big challenge for them is how they come back from this,” said the Moortown clubman.
“This is the last year of the Minors and it would have been nice to progress. But that’s football, we’ll congratulate Derry and move on.
“There are other things for the players to concentrate on now, like exams at school and their clubs. All of them have good futures ahead and we’ve been telling them all along that this is just the start.
“We didn’t get over the line and were caught. But these players are only 17 or 18, they’re out there learning and you have to be patient.
“You learn from every match, and the experience is something that will benefit them. That’s the way it goes.”
FULL STORY IN TODAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE