Tyrone hurling team boss Tony Fawl endured a fraught build-up to yesterday’s National Hurling League Division 3B encounter against Donegal as he harboured real fears about his ability to field a team.
Disappointing attendances at training and perceived apathy among his squad had presented Fawl, who guided Tyrone to the Lory Meagher Cup last year, with headaches in recent days.
In the event, the Red Hands not only fulfiled their fixture, they also offered a healthy ration of commitment and pluck before eventually going under by 2-13 to 0-11 to their visitors at Healy Park, Omagh.
Ahead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval, Donegal cemented victory with two second-half goals from Eugene Organ and Paddy Hannigan, but it was the accurate marksmanship of Niall Campbell that ultimately crushed Tyrone’s spirit.
Campbell landed 0-13 in all, underlining his value to his team as he kept Tyrone on the back foot in the second period.
David Lavery, though, epitomised Tyrone’s feisty spirit with half-a-dozen points and with a rub of the green he might have had more.
Cavan, meanwhile, proved too sharp for Leitrim at Ballyconnell where they won by 1-17 to 3-4.
Their goal came from Bernard Gaffney, a native of Clare who has transferred his hurling skills to the Breffni stage.
David McGovern, Clement Cuniffe and Shane Kiernan knocked in the Leitrim goals, but Cavan’s strong finish kept them in the clear in a match laced with honest endeavour and some fine score-taking.
The Armagh v Mayo match at Crossmaglen in Division 3A along with the Monaghan v Fermanagh and Longford v South Down ties in Division 4 all fell victims to the overnight snow.