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‘It was proper, old Championship football’: Tyrone urged to seize the moment after Ulster semi-final win

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All good: Tyrone joint managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher ahead of their side’s victory over Donegal. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

All good: Tyrone joint managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher ahead of their side’s victory over Donegal. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

All good: Tyrone joint managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher ahead of their side’s victory over Donegal. Credit: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

There was a wistfulness to Tyrone joint manager Feargal Logan as he began his post-match briefing. The scene in Enniskillen reminded him of his younger self, evidently.

When I came out of the tunnel, it reminded me of Clones; the very bright sky and the very green grass. And I actually thought we were back in Clones when I walked out,” he said.

“But it was great, proper old, ’80s, ’90s Championship football. Helpfully, Tyrone came out on the right end of it.”

Asked about the week leading into this, he buzzed.

“There’s no tomorrow. So you are a write-off,” he said.

“There’s no tomorrow in that football and that keeps you motivated, keeps you on edge, and we preached it to our guys and thankfully they stood up to a man.

“There were others who are equally good footballers and didn’t get time, so we are just happy to have got a win under our belts and are heading to an Ulster final.”

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Asked about the Michael Murphy red card, he added: “I will have to look at it again.

“Michael lives on the edge a little bit with his tackling.

“His first cost him a yellow, maybe the second he looked like he was going for it and maybe he was pipped to the post.

“Michael has been an outstanding servant of Donegal football, the best manager of a football game on the field I have seen.

“So it’s unfortunate what happened.”

Logan hinted at the cramming that had to be done with his players. Tyrone did not train over lockdown; others did and some were caught doing so.

When it was suggested that behaving like choirboys over lockdown was to their detriment, he smiled and explained: “Sometimes...

“But anyway, I’m not making too big a point on that. The bottom line is that you need time with these groups and the players and it was a new set-up this year in Tyrone as everybody knows.

“So listen, let’s hope we can keep improving and pushing it on day on day.

“We had just bounced into that league genuinely. We had four weeks after the league this year and you saw how it finished.

“Collie Holmes, Joe McMahon, Pete Donnelly, Des McGuinness, all these boys set to work in those four weeks and I think we saw the benefit of that time on the training field today.”

He added: “You can sit all winter and say what Tyrone are going to do next year but there are absolutely no guarantees in this game so now is the time for this group to seize the moment and get on now with an Ulster final.”

Donegal manager Declan Bonner registered his disapproval of the decision to send Murphy off, but stopped short of having a real cut at match referee Joe McQuillan.

“Without having had a chance to look at it, to me it wasn’t a sending off,” Bonner said.

“I chatted with Michael and he’s very disappointed. Some days decisions go for you.

“Today, I think Joe got a number of decisions wrong but I’m not going to blame the referee for it.

“These things happen in Championship football. It’s frustrating from our point of view because it was always going to leave us with an uphill task.”

He added of his captain: “Michael owes Donegal football nothing. Michael has been an absolute leader and has been absolutely immense in the time he has been playing for Donegal. It was frustrating for him, no doubt. He was very frustrated that he got the card at the time.”

When Bonner succeeded Rory Gallagher in late 2017, he was handed a four-year arrangement. It now remains to be seen what the future holds.

He said of his immediate future: “It’s not time to talk about it or look at it. It’s frustrating. We’ll sit down and lick our wounds over the next couple of days and we’ll see after that.

“I’ve been involved in Championship football for a long time. There is no worse feeling than being involved in a losing dressing room. That’s part and parcel of it.”


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