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Dr Mc Kenna Cup Provides a Great Opportunity For New And Fringe Players

Friday 03.01.2014
Team Talk Mag
Club


Tyrone senior manager Mickey Harte has never made any secret of how highly he values the season opening Dr Mc Kenna Cup competition. With its league format followed by semi finals and final it appeals greatly to players, managers and supporters all keen to put the excesses of the festive season behind them. The Tyrone manager’s approach to this competition has done a lot to raise its profile and return it to its rightful place as the second most important senior inter county football competition in Ulster.

The inclusion of the University teams has also helped expand and develop the competition and its timing is an ideal way to mark the start of the new season for fans of Gaelic football.

In the past Mickey Harte has always fielded very strong teams in the Mc Kenna Cup but with many players unavailable due to injury etc the Tyrone teams picked for the sectional games could look somewhat experimental. The ideal thing about this competition of course is that it allows managers to experiment, trial, test, switch and change without the worry of relegation or a season ending championship exit. If truth be told there is much to gain and little if anything to lose.

While winning is always nice what is perhaps more important is giving new or fringe players a platform to exhibit their abilities and show their willingness to work hard for the team. Should one or two players step up to the plate and deliver then winning or losing the competition becomes irrelevant.

Victory in the Dr Mc Kenna Cup is a nice way to start the season and for some players it may be the only opportunity they ever get to win a senior inter county medal. However for the future progress of the senior county team what is much more important is witnessing the continued improvement and development of players such as Mattie Donnelly, Ronan O’Neill, Danny Mc Bride and Peter Harte. These are the players around whom the Tyrone team will be built over the next decade or so after the likes of Conor Gormley and Sean Cavanagh finally call it a day.

Sunday’s game will hardly be played at full championship pace but because it is Donegal we can expect it to be a learning exercise for all involved. As always when facing Jim Mc Guinness’s teams it will be a test of character and resolve for Tyrone and an opportunity for players to experience what is required if they are to succeed as inter- county footballers.

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