Penrose’s face fits for Tyrone
When Tyrone overcame Derry in the Ulster championship semi-final last month, the squad's celebrations were somewhat muted — understandable, perhaps, given what they have already achieved in the recent past.
But one player in particular had reason for taking special satisfaction from the side's arrival in the provincial final in which they will meet Antrim on Sunday.
Martin Penrose has been viewed as a 'nearly man' within the Red Hands set-up, his appearances in recent seasons being rather more confined to National League outings and substitute roles in occasional championship games.
The Aghyaran clubman has had to exercise considerable patience in his bid to press for more recognition in the really high-profile matches.
However, when eventually presented with the opportunity to prove his worth against Derry, he seized it with both hands, looping over two superb first-half points and generally proving a hot handful for the opposition defence.
Penrose, who initially caught the eye as a hugely talented youngster in a successful Tyrone Minor outfit, relished that handsome victory over Damian Cassidy's side and is hoping to have a big say again in Sunday's final against the Saffrons.
“It's not every day that an Ulster final comes round and I want to try and make some impact if I can,” said Penrose.
“Competition for places in this Tyrone team is very fierce and Mickey Harte has lots of options.
“Getting into the side is hard and staying there is even harder.”
His pace, ball control and ability to shoot from all angles and distances could prove valuable qualities as the defending All Ireland champions seek to take the direct route into the quarter-finals.
Penrose was one of several players in the squad who sported a beard in advance of last year's All Ireland final coup against Kerry, but now he just hopes that his clean-shaven face continues to fit the bill!