With the Fr. Murray Cup safely locked up in the trophy cabinet, Tyrone minors continue their quest for the Tom Markham Cup this weekend, writes Seamus Donnelly.
Beaten Leinster finalists Meath will provide the opposition for the young Red Hand side as they seek to emulate the 2008 Minor side who beat the Royals en route to All Ireland glory.
Mickey Donnelly’s side have enjoyed a successful year to date winning both the Ulster Minor League and Championship but the Aghaloo man doesn’t want this weekend’s game to be his side’s last.
“We’ve been delighted with our year so far. Things have gone very well and to win an Ulster championship was great. But we don’t want this weekend to be the end of our year!”
Donnelly and the Tyrone management team have already familiarised themselves with the Meath team and believes they will offer Tyrone a very different challenge to what they face in Ulster.
“We went down to see Meath in the Leinster semi-final against Westmeath and they were very impressive on that evening.
“They are a big, strong side, very physically imposing and we haven’t really faced a side like this before. Ulster teams tend to be more tactically aware, a bit more defensive so this will pose our boys a new challenge.”
Meath will undoubtedly be smarting from a Leinster final defeat to Dublin that saw the Metropolitans run out convincing 3-17 to 1-11 winners.
Meath’s run to the Leinster final had been relatively smooth with comfortable victories over Longford, Offaly and Westmeath, before they ran in to a Dublin side that have been dominant in Leinster over the last year or two.
Meath manager Anthony McEntee and his selectors came in for some criticism within the county for their selection policy in the Leinster final and may well shuffle their team with Tyrone in mind.
Donnelly has not been afraid to make changes this year in his team both prior to throw in and during the game and this is something he puts down to the strength in depth of the squad.
“We’re very fortunate, sometimes you get a good team. But we’ve got a very good squad this year. We’ve togged out, I think, 27 players this year and I think that’s an reflection of the strength in depth in our squad.”
“The Holy Trinity lads coming back into the team was a real boost for us. We had to play a lot of the Ulster league without them, but they’ve come into the side and really performed for us.
“The likes of James McGahan, Michael Cassidy, Kieran McGeary, Danny McNulty, Ruairi Mullan and Anthony Devlin have come in and contributed to the team.
“They’ve had a bit of experience now and hopefully it will stand to them. All the lads have played in an Ulster final now and that was probably a bigger occasion.”
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Weather for Dungannon
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South