A FRESH impetus is most definitely evident among the Tyrone hurlers as they prepare for what looks certain to be a season-defining clash against their old rivals from Donegal in the Nickey Rackard Cup semi-final later today. (Throw-in 1.30pm)
Recent games between the counties have often proven difficult for the Red Hands. They are again expecting to find the going tough, especially considering Donegal’s current position above them in the National League.
But Mattie Lennon and the players will revel in that role. There’s also no bigger incentive for them to make a mark than the prospect of a Croke Park final appearance for the winners on the following weekend.
Tyrone were boosted by the return of several players for last weekend’s morale-boosting win over Monaghan. The efforts of players such as Damien Casey, Bryan McGurk, Dean Rafferty, Kiefer Morgan and Josh Ferguson indicates that they are ready and capable of springing a surprise against their north-west rivals.
Also among those who made their mark in the big victory over Monaghan was Dungannon’s Brannan Molloy. He is in no doubt about their abilities to do well against Donegal and how the incentive of that Croke Park final appearance will no doubt inspire both counties.
“Donegal are going to be very hard to beat and it’s going to be hard-hitting. We’ve got back to training this week and it’s a case of trying to keep the momentum going,” he said.
“We had a great win over Monaghan last weekend, it was hard-hitting stuff and thankfully we pulled away in the end. Hopefully, we can get a good result against Donegal in the semi-final.
“Mattie Lennon made us aware of the importance of the game last weekend and the fact that we were in a real dogfight. We had to dig in and, after the Mayo game the previous week, we really had to get back
“It was a case of making a big statement in the quarter final to get through and also avoid the drop to the Lory Meagher for next year. Mayo had come down and walked all over us, so there was a determination not to let that happen again.
“There’s also the desire to keep that going and we’ve been boosted by the return of a few players. Conor Grogan came back and for this week’s game the Devlins will be back which is also going to be a boost.”
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE