Form is temporary, class is permanent and confidence can make the world of difference particularly if you are a forward. Tyrone’s ace attacker Stevie O’Neill has endured some difficult times of late with injury but has shown tremendous resilience to get himself back in contention for a place on the team. On Sunday when the forward line looked to be losing their way and lacking direction the Clan na Gael full forward was the man Mickey Harte turned to in an attempt to fire up the team.
By his own high standards his first few touches were average enough but before the game was over it was clear that O’Neill had lost none of his natural flair for scoring. Three exquisite points from play and a poacher’s goal rounded off a fine forty minutes but his game was about much more than just scoring. As the match wore on you could see his confidence return and the difference that made was significant. His movement was better, his passing crisper and more accurate and his body language was that of a man wanting to throw off the shackles and get stuck in.
It may only have been January and the second round of The Mc Kenna Cup but for Stevie O’Neill and Tyrone, Sunday’s victory over Antrim could prove to be hugely significant as the year goes on.