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Consistency, Talent And Hard Work All On Show In Laois.
Up until Saturday night Tyrone had shown in flashes some fine form without reaching the levels of consistency required to make a push for the top. Even against Donegal during the first twenty minutes or so Mickey Harte’s team played some fine football before being undone by a solid team performance from the Tir Conaill men. In recent days the manager has spoken of the need for consistency and perseverance in terms of performance and in recent games it would be fair to say that there have been very positive signs of improvement throughout the team.
The round five game away to Laois was surely their biggest test to date considering that Justin Mc Nulty’s team were top of the table and had posted some fine displays already this year. In one of their best performances for many years this Laois team had gone to Celtic Park and had inflicted one of their heaviest ever home league defeats on Derry. Add to that the fact that Tyrone have not had the best of records in recent years against Laois and it was understandable that the Bookies favoured a home win.
Well if Mickey Harte wanted or asked for more consistency from his team he certainly got it in this excellent all round team performance in O’Moore Park. Although the home side opened the scoring Tyrone took over and produced some inventive and entertaining football as they dominated the first half albeit aided by the elements. Leading by seven points at the break the big challenges facing Tyrone after the break were to deal with the wind and rain and the physicality of their opponents. Could the free flowing football of the first half be matched with the industry and hard work required to deal with what would surely be a second half onslaught from the home team.
If anything Tyrone worked even harder as a team in the second half and with Martin Penrose and Brian Mc Guigan covering every inch of the park the Red Hands held on for a very convincing and well deserved four point win. Leading up to this game I had said that a Tyrone win would be a major statement of intent which it certainly was but the consistency shown throughout was even more heartening. With two games left Tyrone have now moved away from the relegation zone and if results were to go for them in the last two rounds of fixtures who knows they might even gain promotion back to Division One.