Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Donnelly rallies Tyrone support

Croke calling: Mickey Donnelly is preparing Tyrone for minor final
Croke calling: Mickey Donnelly is preparing Tyrone for minor final

Tyrone minor team manager Mickey Donnelly is hoping that his team will enjoy "healthy support" when they face Mayo in the All-Ireland final on Sunday.

With Mayo due to meet Dublin in the senior decider, the western county will now receive an enhanced ration of tickets meaning that both their minor and senior teams will enjoy huge support on the day.

Indeed, Mayo could have the backing of some 35,000 fans with people travelling from the USA, Australia, Europe and England to get behind their county's two teams.

But Donnelly is confident that Tyrone fans will rally to the cause even though they have had to make trips to Croke Park recently for the All-Ireland quarter-finals and semi-finals.

"Because of the senior team's extended run in the Championship fans have been digging deep into their pockets to support them and I'm delighted to say that they have been getting behind the minor side as well," says Donnelly.

"Now that we have reached the final it would be great if we could get healthy support at Croke Park once again.

"We will certainly need it as Mayo are going to present us with a massive challenge no matter what way you look at things."

Tyrone enjoy an enviable record in finals at under-age level at Headquarters, but Donnelly acknowledges that Sunday will see his team's mettle tested to the full.

"When you look at the way this Mayo side have progressed you know that they are something special," he said.

"While we were delighted to get those wins over Kerry and Roscommon, we know that Mayo will be a different proposition altogether and we will need to be at our very best if we are to have a chance of winning."

Tyrone will train tonight and Donnelly expects to have a full squad available from which to select his starting XV.

Diligent deployment of substitutes to date has been crucial to Tyrone's progress and Donnelly is adamant that this could prove a key factor once again on Sunday.

"We have players on the bench who are just chomping at the bit for action and that's the way it should be," said Donnelly.

"We know they are capable of coming in and doing a job for us and that is important. There is no doubt Croke Park can drain players and that's why it is imperative that we have fresh legs to call upon as and when necessary."

Mayo manager Enda Gilvarry is hoping to name an unchanged side following impressive victories over Westmeath and Monaghan in the All-Ireland quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

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