TYRONE are treading dangerously but can avoid going off the deep end with a much-needed league victory away to Monaghan this Saturday night.
The Red Hands are bidding for only their second win of a thus far disjointed campaign, the main exception being Mattie Donnelly’s 76th minute winner against Kildare a fortnight ago.
The hope is that Donnelly’s decisive intervention lights the touch paper on Tyrone’s season, and last weekend’s McKenna Cup final defeat to Donegal will be rendered a mere curio if they embark on a winning league run.
Mickey Harte came out fighting in his impassioned comments to the BBC’S Mark Sidebottom in the aftermath of the McKenna Cup final – comments which have widely circulated online and in print.
Our resident columnist John Lynch believes the long-standing Tyrone boss was right to fight his corner, and hopefully that sense of ‘us against the world’ will manifest itself in a positive performance this weekend, even if Tiernan McCann’s knee injury has clouded preparations.
Meanwhile, Monaghan’s Owen Duffy says they remain on high alert ahead of Saturday evening’s encounter against their old adversaries.
The Farney County effectively secured their Division One status with last weekend’s impressive win over Kerry – their second consecutive league victory and one which lifts them to third in the table as we enter the second half of the league.
However, it isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities that they will need at least one point from their final three fixtures to ensure survival for definite – and a place in the Division One final for the first time since 1986 would be a massive lift heading into the championship as well.
This weekend’s encounter is a dress rehearsal for their Ulster Championship quarter-final clash against Tyrone – also at Healy Park – and Duffy is conscious that Monaghan have a fairly poor record against their neighbours.
They’ve won only one of five championship encounters since the turn of the decade against Tyrone, an Ulster Championship semi-final win in 2014.
Their league record is more commendable in fairness. They’ve played four times since 2010, evenly split between two wins and two losses.
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE