Tyrone minor ace Kyle Coney must put all thoughts of Aussie Rules aside if Tyrone are to come up trumps in Saturday’s All Ireland final replay against Mayo in Longford.
Kyle Coney was rather subdued in the drawn finalBy Micheal McGeary
The Ardboe clubman went into the drawn game having won rave reviews all season on the back of his prodigious talent.
But during the game last Sunday in Croke Park, on the biggest occasion of his career, he was strangely subdued.
Those close to Coney maintain that all the hype surrounding his move Down Under later this year has had an unsettling effect on the player.
Certainly he was but a pale shadow of the man who had destroyed Meath in a one-sided semi- final.
Ulster champions Tyrone were relieved to escape with a draw from Croke Park last Sunday, virtue of Matthew Donnelly’s point deep into added time.
“Everyone it seemed was making us favourites after we overcame Meath,” said assistant manager Cathal McEnenly.
“But Mayo beat Kerry after a replay and are a formidable side so we anticipated a tough battle.
“We were slow starters, but coming up to half-time we were very much in the game.
“In the end we were happy at the manner in which our boys battled back and that says much for the character of the side.”
Tyrone manager Raymond Munroe, though, must plan for the replay without his captain Ryan Pickering.
The MacRory and Hogan Colleges star may have suffered a broken collar bone during the drawn match.
You have to feel sorry for a player whose season has been dogged by injury.
A wrist injury meant his Ulster championship season was restricted to a substitute role in the final against Monaghan.
Pickering’s absence leaves the Ulster champions decidedly short of cover in defence.
In the drawn final it was Trillick’s Mattie Donnelly who saved Tyrone’s bacon with a dramatic late equaliser.
It was tough luck on a gallant Mayo side who had battled bravely throughout.
Both teams contributed enormously to one of the better All Ireland minor deciders.
These teams have already shown that they have what it takes to come up trumps at the second time of asking, both having won replays earlier in the season.
Mayo certainly looked the part in disposing of Kerry in a semi-final replay and will fancy their chances this time.
Seven years ago a Tyrone side that included Sean Cavanagh, Martin Penrose, Tommy McGuigan, John Devine and Joe McMahon needed a second game to get past Dublin in an All Ireland final.
Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?