McNamee highlights discipline as key to progress
Tyrone full-back Ronan McNamee is convinced teams have now absorbed the lesson that discipline is crucial to real progress in the modern game.
The Red Hands perhaps provided a textbook example of this in their clinical demolition of Donegal in the Ulster semi-final when they incurred one black card and conceded nothing more than a handful of frees overall.
It was a structured, measured performance which has set a new template in how teams who harbour viable aspirations of attaining success should go about their business.
Down, too, even though they shipped four yellow cards in their surprise win over Monaghan, did not incur a single black or red card and this proved a salient factor in their arrival in the Ulster final.
Now McNamee, one of the most accomplished defenders in the province, stresses that discipline is essential in the pursuit of success on not one but two counts.
"A lack of discipline can lead to lapses in concentration and into the bargain most teams have players now who can point frees quite easily from 50 yards. This has been clearly underlined in more recent games so committing fouls through careless or lazy tackling can have serious consequences," pointed out McNamee.
When Armagh beat Fermanagh last weekend, nine of the 20 points they scored came from frees while Tomas Corrigan knocked over six of the Ernemen's 0-11 from placed balls.
"This shows you the extent to which free-takers can influence games," insisted McNamee. "You simply have to be disciplined. No team can afford to give away too many frees. Your tackling has to be strong but fair so that you don't give the sharpshooters the chance to kick the ball over the bar from 50 yards.
"We knew when we went in against Donegal in our semi-final that we simply could not afford to give anything silly away. We were aware that if we kept the frees to a minimum we would be in with a chance.
"It's great to be in the Ulster final again and the target for us now is to be equally disciplined when we face Down."