Tyrone face a tricky test away to Sligo this weekend as they go in search of their first win in the 2011 National League. The Westerners have a pretty decent record against Tyrone and will fancy their chances of taking the scalp of the O’Neill county once again. Judging by their respective displays against Donegal, the Connacht County would certainly be coming into this game in a confident frame of mind. Sligo drew away to Donegal and by all accounts should have won that game while Tyrone were comprehensively beaten by Jim Mc Guinness’s side in Omagh in a display that was arguably one of the worst of Mickey Harte’s tenure.
Tyrone will need a much improved performance if they are to get anything out of this game. Last weekend the players looked at times like they had never played together before with poor passing, lack of support and some awful decision making on and off the ball. The fact that Tyrone had only three shots in total during the second half tells its own story. Our forwards were pretty ineffective last Saturday and it is in this area in particular where we must see a big improvement. Sean Cavanagh and Stevie O’Neill are both playing well below the required level and considering the experience of both players, such form does not augur well for the team’s chances of victory against Kevin Walsh’s side. The big Moy man in particular is nowhere near the player he was when Tyrone lifted the All Ireland in 2008. It is hard to know what is behind his poor form but one thing is for sure, if he can get back to near his best he is still a real match winner.
O’Neill on the other hand looks like a player who has the weight of the world on his shoulders at times. He is lacking confidence and self belief at the minute and judging by the manner in which he left the field after the Donegal defeat, he had the look of a man who was fed up with the game.
While that is very understandable considering the injuries and difficulties he has faced over the years, throwing the towel in would the wrong thing to do. Stevie needs to keep working hard and persevering with his game. He is only one good performance away from regaining the confidence and form that made him one of the best and most feared forwards in the game. There would be no better time than Sunday afternoon for the Clan na Gael man to come good. A fine display from the left footer would lift the whole team and should Sean Cavanagh weigh in with a few scores as well we could well be on our way to our first win of the league.