Joe Kernan: Reality check for Harte, and Canavan will spark response
In the build-up to last Sunday’s Allianz Football League divisional finals at Croke Park Tyrone manager Mickey Harte made it quite clear that his side would face a fresh challenge in Division One next year.
Just how demanding that challenge will prove was underlined when Kildare, also promoted along with Tyrone, beat his team rather comprehensively in the end.
Harte had alluded to the fact that there is a gap between Division One and Division Two standards and this was certainly highlighted by the standard of fare on offer.
But he will not be fazed by what happened at Headquarters.
Instead, he will invite his players to challenge themselves when they meet teams like Cork, Kerry and Dublin in the league next year so that they can become better both individually and collectively.
Like Harte, Peter Canavan also got something of an eye-opener when his Fermanagh side fell to a busy, sharply focused Wicklow — a win that provided further confirmation for the Ernemen that gaining promotion from Division Three next year will be far from a straightforward task.
Teams have discovered that other outfits in the country are well-organised, determined and ambitious and anxious to break the status quo that has pertained for some time in football.
Both Tyrone and Fermanagh have too much skill, desire, ambition and drive to stay down for long.
You can be sure that both Harte and Canavan have their sights very much fixed on championship success — indeed, this would have been the case even before last weekend’s games.
They know only too well that the league is already history but that championship achievements tend to stay fresh in the memory bank for much longer.