Last Sunday proved a bridge too far for Tyrone Ladies football team as they were swept aside by a very efficient and highly motivated Dublin side. Niall Colton’s side had been hoping to lift their first senior All Ireland title on their first ever appearance in a senior final. Confidence was high coming into the game in spite of the fact that Dublin were hot favourites in the eyes of most neutral observers.
However Tyrone soon found themselves very much on the back foot as the Dubs lived up to their pre match billing. In spite of a valiant rearguard showing The Red Hand girls were over run and looked a well beaten side long before the final whistle. Indeed had the Dublin forwards capitalised on the chances they created they could have scored six or seven goals. Tyrone were second best all over the field as their opponents set about erasing the memory of their narrow defeat in last year’s final to five in a row champions Cork. Full forward Aherne was outstanding for the Dubs and her personal tally of 2-7 did not flatter her or her performance in any way.
Tyrone were beaten by a much hungrier and better side on the day and now find themselves at a bit of a crossroads. They can either feel sorry for themselves and stagnate or can look at the game closely, examine it in detail and learn the lessons from it. This team has made considerable progress but still has a long way to go.
Most of these players are young enough and enthusiastic enough to want to improve. The big task for the players and the management will be to use last Sunday’s game as an opportunity to move to the next level. Otherwise the achievement of making the final will become only a statistic and any benefit to be gained from it will be lost. Let’s hope for the good of the game that is not the case.