Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone still competitive 10 years after first All-Ireland win

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

With Declan Bogue

This Saturday, they will be hoping for good weather. A little bit of sunshine in the townland of Garvaghey would be just dandy.

Ten years to the day they won their first All-Ireland gaelic football title, Tyrone will be throwing open the doors of their training complex. Most would call it a Centre of Excellence though they refer to it as a Centre of Participation, ruling no-one or no team out of the experience.

They would have loved for a certain Sam Maguire to have been there, but it wasn't to be.

Nonetheless, with a team in transition, they remained competitive this season. As well as the concrete and pillars, there is a legacy there in coaching and playing.

Part of that legacy was in the minor team that lost their All-Ireland minor final yesterday to Mayo. Perhaps they weren't the finest minor side to ever come out of Tyrone and against the editions of 1997 and '98, few would bear comparison.

But they were resilient, well-drilled and they knew how to get as far as a Croke Park final. Given the age profile of the team, plenty of them will be eligible to play minor football next year.

Their resolve was also forged by losing to Monaghan in the Ulster final, coming back after that to beat strong Kerry and Roscommon sides at headquarters.

Ger Loughnane once said that defeat at this level is the optimum result for a minor. It prevents them being feted around a county and slaking their thirst for success.

Time will tell of course, but the overall legacy of the Tyrone All-Ireland 10 years ago is that as a county, they will always be competitive.

Belfast Telegraph


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