Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

McAleer ready to keep Tyrone on target

The thin line that separates success and failure out on the park can also be in evidence away from the playing arena.

 

When Donegal beat Tyrone in the Ulster Championship quarter-final back in May, it was felt that this setback could have grave repercussions for the ongoing Club Tyrone fund-raising drive aimed at helping to finance the county’s new Centre of Excellence at Garvaghy near Ballygawley.

Indeed, Club Tyrone chairman Hugh McAleer reveals today that it was a case of “all hands to the pumps” in a bid to rekindle entrepreneurial flair.

“The defeat to Donegal was a real downer,” admits Omagh accountant McAleer.

“Obviously there was depression and the feeling of where do we go from here. But we summoned all hands to the pumps and we set ourselves a target of trying to sign up one hundred new members to Club Tyrone before the date of our first qualifying match against Offaly at the end of June came round.”

Any pessimism in the wake of the Ballybofey blow soon evaporated, however, and McAleer was able to subsequently report that Club Tyrone had exceeded all expectations by acquiring the signatures of 127 people as new members who each pledged £500.

“Obviously this will bring in a lot of much-needed cash and it’s hardly surprising therefore to learn that I am particularly keen to see Tyrone beat Mayo on Sunday,” smiles McAleer.

“Firstly, because it would be great to get into another All-Ireland final. Secondly it would provide further impetus for our coaching structures especially at under-age level. And thirdly because it would mean that maybe Club Tyrone could go from strength to strength in its avowed aim of leaving the best possible legacy for future generations within the county.”

With Tyrone in both the senior and minor All-Ireland semi-finals, football fever is rampant within the county yet again with even talk of a double triumph surfacing.

But McAleer, conditioned as he is to working within the constraints of a straitened financial environment, is aware that success does not necessarily always breed success.

“In some ways the defeat against Donegal galvanised us. We decided that we were not going to let that loss overcome us, we were only going to look at it as a short-term hiccup.

“We re-doubled our efforts to raise funds, we achieved what we set out to do but there is still a hard road ahead,” confirms McAleer.

“In the face of adversity Tyrone gaels always rise the occasion.”

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