All Ireland champions Tyrone again find themselves very much in the spotlight this weekend.
Last time out they came from behind to pip Dublin in an enthralling Allianz League opener under the Croke Park lights.
On Sunday in Healy Park they again cross swords with old adversaries Kerry in a repeat of last season’s All Ireland decider.
On that occasion Mickey Harte’s men defied the odds en-route to winning a third senior All Ireland.
They not only overcame a county that has won more All Irelands than any other, but they did so with a brilliant display of fast, incisive football.
Since then Kerry manager Paty O’Shea has stepped down with Jack O’Connor returning to take over the managerial reins.
O’Connor lost the 2005 All Ireland final to Tyrone and that still hurts.
It’s still only February, but you sense Kerry are on a mission, the prime object being to recover the Sam Maguire.
Tadhg Kennelly, whose late father Tim was for years the corner-stone of Kerry’s defence, has already rejoined the Kerry squad less than a week after returning home from Australia.
The former Sydney Swans star trained with the Kingdom over the weekend and is now expected to be part of their national league squad.
Manager O’Connor has to plan for Sunday’s game without Kieran Donaghy which may open the way to include Kennelly at full forward, though he’s more likely to be deployed at full back, where his fielding ability would be a major asset.
Tyrone assistant manager Tony Donnelly while delighted with a third All Ireland success last September insists it’s now time to move on
“The whole focus is now on a new season and the challenges it will bring.
“The sport is so competitive now that you can’t sit back. It’s all about setting new targets, new goals.
“The bar is always being raised so hopefully we can push on.
“Any Kerry and Tyrone clash is always one to whet the appetite and it’s one we’re looking forward to.” he said.
Donnelly, an Augher man through and through, is Mickey Harte’s right hand man and they complement each other as they plot the way forward for even ore success.
“We were delighted and honoured to have been chosen to play the first league game under lights in Croke Park.
“But ultimately our main focus was on winning the match and taking two crucial league points.
“It will be a similar story against Kerry in that it’s also a huge occasion, but winning is more important than anything else.
“We were very pleased that we finished strongly against Dublin that night in Croke Park. In fairness Dublin too played their part.
“But as in any sport there’s always room for improvement and we’ve been working on different aspects of our game in the last few weeks,” he added.
Stephen O’Neill stole the show under the Croke Park lights and he will be hoping for more of the same against Jack O’Connor’s men.