Tyrone and Meath fought out a high scoring and very entertaining draw before a large and appreciative crowd in Navan this afternoon. Tyrone had come into the game needing to win to be in with a chance of making it into the Division Two league final but as the results worked out even a win would not have been enough to secure promotion and the chance of the league title.
Funnily enough looking at the game I had the feeling before it that promotion was not what this match was about. This match was more about performance and getting some sort of result because both would send out a signal of intent to the rest of the country as far as Tyrone’s aspirations for the rest of the season are concerned.
Tyrone’s record against Meath has not been particularly good over the years and Pairc Tailteann is never an easy place to get a result. In addition to this Meath, who were staring relegation to Division three in the face, had much more to play for today than Tyrone had and judging by the way their players and supporters reacted to the news that they had avoided relegation gives you some idea just what this result meant to them.
Mickey Harte and his team “celebrated” the result in a similar fashion to how they have greeted every result this year. They gathered in their customary post match huddle and warmed down as usual. There were no outward signs to show that Tyrone were either pleased or relieved with the outcome but overall I would imagine the manager and his team will have been more than happy with how this year’s league has unfolded. The last five matches in particular have been very positive for Tyrone and have shown that the talent and hunger are still there and once the manager has a fully fit panel to pick from, Tyrone as a team will still take a bit of beating.
It was interesting today to note the reaction of the crowd as referee Derek Fahy left the pitch. The Meath supporters were most irate at times with some of his decisions but I have to say that on the balance of the decisions given Tyrone probably had greater cause for complaint than The Royals. Not to worry however as both teams will feel the draw was just the result they both needed and the intensity of the game was just what was required as they now turn their attention towards the championship.