Any win in the Ulster Senior Football Championship is a good win. Tyrone might not have scaled the heights of some of their championship games last year, or even some of their performances in the league this year, but a win is a win.
Mickey Harte used the opportunity to blood three new players in the shape of Michael Cassidy, Ben McDonnell and Brian Kennedy.
I thought Cassidy had a superb debut. He kicked a class point at the end of the first half and smashed over an even better one at the beginning of the second period.
If he stays injury free we could be seeing a lot of him this summer.
Brian Kennedy didn’t look right after he was brought down in the opening quarter. The reports are that he will do well to make the Antrim game. Ben McDonnell looked a little unsure of himself and I’m not sure that he has quite worked out what his role is within Mickey Harte’s system.
He’s a quality player and I’ve no doubt that he will learn quickly. The Antrim game will offer him that opportunity.
Derry have some quality players and they did create two or three goal chances. Shane McGuigan’s finish was top drawer and you get the feeling that if he had jumped onto that ball in Derry’s opening attack, the ball would have rattled off the net instead of Niall Morgan’s chest.
Video sessions will be uncomfortable
Tyrone look to have adopted a man to man marking system in the absence of Colm Cavanagh. That will work well against Derry and Antrim, but it won’t work against Mayo, Kerry or Dublin further down the line. We need to find another sweeper.
At 0-6 to 0-1 up Tyrone should have pushed on, but it didn’t happen. I thought that Peter Harte and Niall Sludden failed to exert themselves on the game and by snuffing those two players out Derry grew in confidence. Peter Harte is a much better player than he showed on Sunday. Mickey needs to find another option for him when he’s closed down playing in the forward line.
The back six won’t be happy with the number of frees they conceded. Good teams don’t miss frees inside the 45 metre line and Tyrone allowed Derry to slot nine frees over from in and around the ‘D’.
Harte will be fuming about that.
You can be certain that he will be watching that game at least half a dozen times this week. The video sessions will have some uncomfortable moments for some of the lads, but the bottom line is that they are in the next round.
I can’t go with Joe
I listened with interest as Joe Brolly floated the notion that the GAA should introduce a three-tiered championship.
Joe will be confident that he will be able to get this over the line and he’s got previous.
His emotional plea after the Sean Cavanagh incident on the Sunday Game on the need for rule changes at Congress certainly helped to bring in the black card. But, I’m not sure that his version of the future structure would work.
I’d like to see all teams playing in their provincial championship as normal, but I’d change the backdoor system. If the Division 3 and 4 teams are knocked out of the provincial championship before the provincial final, they should have to enter into a second-tier competition.
That final could be played in Dublin on the same weekend as the All-Ireland final, but not before the All-Ireland Final. The All-Ireland Minor final needs to remain locked into that position.