Carrickmore’s Mark Donnelly is a man obviously enjoying his football at the minute for both club and county. It would be fair to say he has been something of a peripheral figure in the past as far as the Tyrone side is regarded but through perseverance and hard work he has recently established himself as a key component of Mickey Harte’s side. Indeed in the three games played over the past few weeks he is the only one of the six forwards who started against Monaghan who has played every minute of those three fixtures. The manager is displaying a degree of confidence in the player and that is being rewarded with performances packed with energy and quality and a decent return on the scoreboard as well.
He lined out on Saturday past alongside Martin Penrose and Kyle Coney in a full forward line that eight weeks ago very few would have foreseen as a starting trio for Tyrone in such a vital winner takes all fixture. Both Donnelly and Penrose are great examples of what can happen when you persevere and work hard on the training field as they justified their manager’s faith in them with high quality all action displays. Mark Donnelly is not a man to seek the limelight or the attention of the media but if he continues to turn in performances such as the one against Longford he can guarantee to receive scrutiny from opposition defences as well as the occasional hack.
The big challenge for Mark over the next few weeks will be to maintain this fine run of form and convince the manager that he is the man to lead the Tyrone forward line against the winners of Armagh and Wicklow. That challenge won’t be made any easier with the return from injury of players such as Stevie O’Neill and Enda Mc Ginley and the return to form of Owen Mulligan and Tommy Mc Guigan. Mind you the manager must be delighted with the competition for places and the quality he has at his disposal as the pace and demands of the season intensify.