A DESIRE to prove that last year’s dramatic Ulster Final victory was no fluke was among the motivating factors behind a comprehensive win which saw Tyrone cruise past their old rivals from Donegal yesterday.
The nine point winning margin in this semi-final encounter at St Tiernach’s Park simply couldn’t have been forecast.
But it was the memory of how their dramatic provincial title success last year perhaps wasn’t fully credited that proved yet another motivating factor for the Red Hands, according to one of their most experienced defenders.
Cathal McCarron’s consistency in the defence was clear throughout yesterday’s clash. The Dromore man was in no doubt about the importance of the victory, and the need to keep things firmly in perspective as the countdown starts towards this year’s provincial showpiece.
“It was hurting us a bit coming into this game that maybe our success last year wasn’t given due credit. We are the Ulster champions and were being written off on the back of a few league performances that people will quickly forget about now,” he said.
“But we were also very confident in our own ability coming into this game and what we could do.
“Our games against Donegal are always the toughest of battles. But we knew that if we took care of ourselves, then the result would take care of itself as well.
“There are no cups won today and we’re still only in the Ulster Final. We’ll all keep our heads down and look forward to the final in a few weeks.
“I have never doubted that the talent in this team is second to none. I’ve been in the panel since 2008 and this is probably the best one that I’ve been involved in. It’s just about showing what we’re capable of.
“All the players knew that a performance like this one was there. But sometimes we failed to produce it on a given occasion. It came together, but it’s only the semi-final of the Championship and everybody is about long enough now not to be getting carried away.
“There’s another game there to be won and we’ll have to focus on either Monaghan or Down back here next month,” he added.
Nevertheless, the nature of yesterday’s win produced a warm glow of satisfaction among both the Tyrone players and supporters.
While Donegal trudged out of St Tiernach’s Park to regroup for the All-Ireland Qualifiers, the Red Hands lingered around, keen to reflect on a marvellous 1-21 to 1-12 victory.
They will return to training this week with the prospect of a second consecutive Ulster Final to focus on.
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