TYRONE’S toughest test to date in the Allianz NFL Division Two is sure to come on their travels West, this St. Patrick’s weekend, as they meet second placed Galway writes Jason Quinn. League leaders Tyrone will travel with confidence, in the hope of picking up another two points, having stretched their unbeaten league run to four games, with a facile victory over Westmeath, in their latest outing.
Galway meanwhile got back to winning ways, with a narrow, hard earned, one point home victory over Meath, after dropping three points in their previous two games, a defeat at the hands of Westmeath and a draw at home to Louth and they will look to build on their latest result.
Both sides will be keen for two points here, with promotion as good as guaranteed for Tyrone, if the result is in their favour and a win for Galway, would close Tyrone’s lead at the top to two points, with two game remaining thereafter, as both Counties chase promotion back to Division one.
Tyrone’s impressive contribution to the scoreboard continued at the weekend, scoring 2-11, but it’s the opportunities they missed which will be of concern for manager Mickey Harte, and as a result may see the addition of fit again Stephen O’Neill to the starting line-up for their trip to Galway. Once again Tyrone’s half back line contributed to their scoring, with 1-1 between them and apart from substitutes Sean Cavanagh and Johnny Lafferty scoring second half points, the remaining 1-8 came from the full forward line. Kyle Coney was giving his second start of the league, impressing with four points, one a trademark effort of the outside of the boot and the same again will be required of himself, Penrose and Mulligan if they are to come away from Pearse Park with both points.
Galway captain Finian Hanly will no doubt have his defensive troops set in order to restrict the Red Hand’s forwards from scoring freely. Tyrone’s defence will also be in for a busy seventy minutes, as they set out to try and nullify a dangerous Galway forward line, who last week welcomed back Padraic Joyce as a second half substitute in their win over Meath and along with his cousin Nicky Joyce and Meath, match winner Paul Conroy, they will believe they have the power to upset the odds.
What will be interesting to see, is what changes, if any, Harte makes to his side, as they all near to full fitness and it’s the strength and depth of his panel, which gives his side the nod in this tie and come Sunday evening they could be celebrating promotion early, if other results go their way.