Tyrone chief thrilled by raft of flourishing talent
Tyrone county board chairman Ciaran McLaughlin believes that victory over Cavan in tomorrow night's Power NI Dr McKenna Cup final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh (8.00pm) will mark a significant step in the development of the platoon of fresh faces currently making their mark within the side.
"What we aim to do in Tyrone is to make sure that players are continually coming off the production line who are capable of stepping up to play at the highest standard," states McLaughlin.
"The new boys in the side are getting this test in Division One of the league right now but to make it a third McKenna Cup triumph on the trot for our county would, I feel, be a big step forward for them.
"Nothing succeeds like success and to gain early-season silverware can be a major boost for any side, especially a new-look outfit such as ours that is gaining in cohesion and confidence."
McLaughlin lavishes praise on manager Mickey Harte and his backroom team for striving to ensure that the players are "the very best that they can be."
And he is convinced that a win over what will certainly be a fired-up Cavan side will prove the precursor to progress in the league.
"We have watched performances from some of our players to date which made you just stand back in awe.
It has to be remembered that these are boys who are scarcely out of their teens – in fact, some of them are still in their teens but the way they are maturing is quite remarkable," insists McLaughlin.
He is undoubtedly alluding here to the five-star displays by Ronan O'Neill, Mattie Donnelly and Darren McCurry in Tyrone's important league win over 2013 All-Ireland beaten finalists Mayo on Sunday week last.
"I feel that if these and the rest of our players can stay injury-free then a lot of the country is going to see them in action and I am sure they will admire what they see. I think we have been privileged to witness Tyrone in action this year, it has been a pleasure," states McLaughlin.
Even though his team remain unbeaten this year, manager Harte may well tweak the line-up once again for the confrontation with a Cavan side that is anxious to garner silverware.
The Breffni men have charted an impressive course through the McKenna Cup having disposed of Ulster champions Monaghan at the semi-final stage.
It is understood that Cian Mackey, who was included in the Ulster squad for last Sunday's inter-pro semi-final against Leinster, is carrying an injury but manager Terry Hyland has options.
David Givney, Rory Dunne, Eugene Keating, Turloc Mooney, Martin Dunne, Alan Clarke and Niall McDermott are key players in a Cavan outfit that is already strongly focused on making the leap from Division Three to Division Two in the league.