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McNamee has his sights set on golden 2018 with Red Hands

 

By John Campbell

Tyrone full-back Ronan McNamee is counting down to the start of the new season.

Tonight's Dr McKenna Cup launch at the Balmoral Hotel, Belfast will set the ball in motion for the 2018 campaign and McNamee, now rated as one of the top defenders in the country, believes that Mickey Harte's Red Hands have a big point to prove.

Their world caved in when they were crushed by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-finals by 2-17 to 0-11 but McNamee is confident his county can come good again.

The acquisition of Tyrone Fabrication as new sponsors, the launch of a new jersey and the addition of triple All-Ireland winner Stephen O'Neill to the management team have all combined to trigger optimism.

Tyrone captured the McKenna Cup for the sixth year on the trot, consolidated their place in Division One of the Allianz League and retained the Ulster title.

For most counties that would have been deemed an impressive voyage, but the Red Hands have set the bar for themselves to such an extent that anything less than an appearance in the All-Ireland final is a shortfall.

McNamee admits that even though they captured a generous ration of silverware by most standards, the Red Hands were also forced to absorb lessons.

He said: "It was disappointing for us on the day, but even if we had managed to hit 100 per cent we might not have been closer because Dublin were that good."

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