A fairly high scoring game in Sligo and at last Tyrone at the third attempt, get their first points in this year’s Alliianz National League. I am sure Sligo manager Kevin Walsh must be sitting tonight and wondering how many times his side has scored fifteen points and lost. But in the final analysis he can have few complaints about the result as Tyrone were the better side and handled the elements much better than their opponents.
How often have we said before that goals win games? Tyrone’s first outing in the league was ultimately decided by the early goal that Derry scored and in today’s game against Sligo the two Tyrone majors proved to be the difference. Manager Mickey Harte made several changes from the team selected earlier in the week and these changes seemed to challenge the players to respond to the insipid display produced against Donegal.
Two goals and fifteen points is a fairly decent return by anybody’s standards but when you consider that against Donegal we managed to take one score in the entire second half then the Sligo display was a huge improvement. The performance was in stark contrast to what had taken place a week before in Healy Park. There was improvement all over the field but most pleasing of all however was the return to form of both Stevie O’Neill and Sean Cavanagh. I had said earlier in the week that if both these players could persevere and get back to doing what they do best we would be in with a good chance of winning this game. Cavanagh looked like a different player and was almost unmarkable. In addition to a great all round showing his scoring stats of 1-5 was an excellent return from the Moy man.
Stevie O’Neill did not appear to enjoy himself last time out but on entering the game as a sub against Sligo scored with virtually his first touch and produced some sublime moments of skill. As well as registering three excellent points he was also involved in the move that led to Cavanagh’s match sealing score and by the end was playing with a good degree of confidence.
Let’s hope this return to form of both these fine footballers is a sign of things to come and they can now build on this good win with a victory in The Mc Kenna Cup Final and further wins in the league.