THE Anglo Celt is safely locked away for another year and Cathal McCarron won’t be satisfied until Tyrone make amends for last year’s scarring All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Mayo.
The Dromore veteran was rewarded with his third provincial medal for his part in Tyrone’s fairly straightforward win over Down almost ten days ago.
McCarron has largely stayed away from the media glare following the release of his autobiography Out of Control back in October.
While its controversial subject matter inevitably drew yet more attention to McCarron following a tumultuous few years off the pitch, he hasn’t let the surrounding brouhaha affect his form for club and county.
He played a starring role in Tyrone’s free-and-easy run to Ulster glory but won’t be content until he banishes the memories of last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Mayo – a defeat that hurt to his very marrow.
“Our aim was to win an Ulster final and get back to Croke Park and do ourselves more justice than we did last year. We have that chance maybe to right the wrong of last year so we’ll celebrate tonight and then move forwards.
“Those extra few years, those tough defeats, they make you. That Mayo defeat last year really hurt and I mean it hurt to the bone.
“We’re back where we want to be, it was a long road back to right that wrong. It’ll be head down and we’ll look forward to the All-Ireland quarter-final.”
In the first half of the decade, Tyrone took a back seat in Ulster to Donegal and Monaghan, who passed the Anglo Celt back and forth between 2011 and 2015. It’s for that very reason that McCarron doesn’t take his latest provincial medal for granted.
“I’ve a few, there was a time when we had none and we were watching Donegal or Monaghan on TV.
“We know what these mean to us. It’s great to have them, we’ll not be taking them for granted anymore and long may it continue.
He added: “Any day you win an Ulster title is a great day and any day you win it back-to-back is even better.
“We were happy to get over the line whether it’s by a point or whatever. All we wanted is to win the Ulster Championship and we did that so we’re happy.”
McCarron was hampered earlier the year by a niggling hamstring injury.
He recovered in time for Tyrone’s Ulster Championship opener against Derry. He’s ticking along nicely at this stage and says it’s vital to peak at the business end of the season.
“It’s about peaking at the right time. It’s no point peaking in the league and going hell for leather. The championship is in the summer time and you want to be keeping injury free then and peaking then. That’s what I’ve been doing and long may it continue.”
Tyrone had a tricky patch in the second quarter against Down and he believes that the Mourne Men may have something left to say in this year’s championship.
They face Monaghan in a Round 4B qualifier in a re-run of their memorable Ulster Championship semi-final victory last month.
“When you’re a few points ahead it’s hard to put the foot on the gas. It is what it is and we’re just glad to get over the line.
“Down gave it everything in the first-half and there were only two points in it. They’ll be a hard team for anybody in the qualifiers.”
“Who knows, it mightn’t be the end of them.”
Posted: 3:44 pm July 28, 2017