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O'Neill right to exit Tyrone panel after kicking heels


Clubbing together: Ronan O’Neill has decided to focus on Omagh St Enda’s

Clubbing together: Ronan O’Neill has decided to focus on Omagh St Enda’s

Clubbing together: Ronan O’Neill has decided to focus on Omagh St Enda’s

Imagine the plight of the club manager. Let's say he is not a man who wants to help pay off a chunk of the mortgage or offset the family holiday by making a few pounds on the black market of taking on another club.

Let's say he is just doing it for the purest of reasons - to help out with his own club.

It might even be that he spent significant time working with the club's youth structure, coaching and refining a youngster's talents so much that they were considered worthy of getting onto a county panel.

Now, let's say that player is not getting any meaningful game time with his county. And he can't play pre-season challenge matches with his club.

That's around five months where a talented player goes without the one thing they want to do, which is to play games.

The only wonder surrounding Ronan O'Neill's recent departure from the Tyrone panel is that these things don't happen much more often.

The Omagh man has spent the winter and spring looking on as Tyrone have experimented with their attack and they seem settled now on having Cathal McShane as an inside forward, with Mattie Donnelly and Peter Harte in more advanced positions.

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Add to that the use of Kieran McGeary and Richard Donnelly as more deep-lying forwards and Darren McCurry and Kyle Coney coming on to do damage as the game loosens up, along with the promise of Darragh Canavan who made the matchday squad on Sunday ahead of O'Neill, then you have to say that he made the logical choice for himself and his club, Omagh St Enda's.

For Omagh manager Carl McCabe, he now knows that the quality in his training sessions will receive a serious boost.

Other club managers will be envious.

They might have the players for games, but there is no chance to work on a tactical approach or bond a group in its entirety when your star men are missing during the weeks.

A few years ago, a county goalkeeper dropped off the panel as his club manager reasoned he wouldn't be in tune with what the side were going to achieve with their kickout.

At the time, I remember thinking the manager was unreasonable.

On reflection, perhaps he was just right.

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