As Tyrone maintained pace with Dublin and Kildare on top of Division One table on Sunday, via a five point win over All-Ireland champions Donega, the game was lit up by a brilliant display from Edendork man Niall Morgan, whose crucial saves included a brilliant and decisive stop from a Michael Murphy penalty just before the break, writes Seamus Donnelly.
Morgan also got forward to score three points for his side from placed balls as Tyrone maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
Morgan revealed after the game that a recent Sigerson game helped him stop Murphy’s effort: “I saw a picture of the keeper saving one of his penalties in the Sigerson, so I thought I’d take a chance that he might go the same way again.”
Morgan has made the transition from goalkeeper with Dungannon Swifts to the Tyrone senior team almost seamlessly and after the game he explained that the decision to leave the Swifts had been a difficult one.
“It was massive, because I played for Dungannon and I’d never played for any club. So I suppose it was heart breaking in a way but I’m just glad I got my chance here and at the minute I feel like I made the right decision.
“I think if you look around here today, I’m not sure of the exactnumber in the crowd, just over 9,000, that’s absolutely superb. I’ve never played in front of a crowd like this in my life.
“Every time you play a game it seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Whenever you start playing Gaelic football from a young age, your ambition is to play for your county so whenever that chance came I couldn’t turn it down.”
Reflecting on his team’s win, Morgan was aware that the championship clash between the sides in May remains Tyrone’s focus this season.
“At the end of the day, the league’s brilliant but your aim is to get as far as you can in the championship and you try your best to get to the end of September - but you can’t get there unless you win in the early part of the ccompetition.
“So May’s the focus, to get there and hopefully get a win. At the end of the day they are still All Ireland champions and you have to get past them first.
“I wouldn’t say to day was about putting down a marker. Today was just another stepping stone for us to keep on building.
“Every game you want to improve and I think we’ve done that and the next day out we’ll aim to improve again.”
Morgan and Tyrone will be in action again this Sunday as they face Cork in Healy Park as they continue their push for a play-off position in the league.