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Only Three Down But Is Time Already Running Out?
There is an old saying that a good start is half the battle and if you ask any team manager whose team is presently struggling to get a first win in the league they will readily testify to the truth in that saying. Interestingly enough three games into the new season and the tables do appear to make grim reading for some teams. However the problem with the starkness of the points situation on the tables is that they very often hide the truth about performances.
In some cases we have teams sitting on no points or on one and languishing at the bottom of the table. The table does not lie in terms of games won, drawn or lost but it does not give a full picture in terms of matches that have been lost narrowly or as the result of an unfortunate mistake, a poor decision, a missed penalty etc.
At this early stage of the year most teams are capable of taking points from each other and there can be the occasional surprise result. However once the league gets into full swing after four or five games there will be less chance of some of the perceived smaller teams getting one over on the “big boys”. That is why a good start to the season is so important. Teams like Moortown and Cookstown in Division One will begin to look at their next fixture knowing that these games, both at home, are not only very winnable but a win is almost essential if they are to have any hopes of really competing in senior football. However if either or both teams fail to get a victory next time out in what is basically a four point game, then the pressure is really on.
In many respects the other two divisions are exactly the same. Look at Galbally’s position in Division two. The Pearses had an excellent pre season winning The Ulster Intermediate League but have thus far failed to get a win in Intermediate football. There is bound to be much head scratching and soul searching around the club because these same players, more or less, have competed reasonably well in senior football for a number of years and would now appear to be struggling in a lower league. The truth is that some teams take a while to adjust to the new reality that what was not good enough to keep you in senior football will also not be good enough to make you competitive in Intermediate. Division Two is a very competitive league. In my view it is the most competitive of the three leagues in Tyrone with very little separating the top teams from the bottom. Galbally’s position may look precarious at the minute but Loughmacrory were in exactly the same situation this time last year. They had done well in The Ulster League, were pointless after three games and the situation seemed bleak. However they ended the season by missing out in a promotion play off after losing only one of their remaining twelve league games.
What Galbally, Moortown, Cookstown and Fintona in Division Three now need more than ever is to stick together and continue to work hard. A first win will give them a shot in the arm and some much needed confidence and the picture can begin to change. The only way to improve their position is by one game at a time. The only way to do that is by ensuring that the team is focussed only on the next game.
Losing the opening three league games is not the start to the season any manager would want but those results are now history. It is the next match which is now the most important and if a season is to be turned around then that is where the start must be made. A good start is half the battle is true but so also is the old Chinese saying that even the longest journey must begin with a single step. For those teams who have not made the start to the season that they had been hoping for that single step must be taken together and must start this weekend.