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McShane looking ahead after Tyrone's 2019 woe

Write stuff: Cathal McShane receives his Ulster GAA Writers’ merit award from Seamus McMahon (Quinn Building Products) and Writers’ Association chairman John Martin
Write stuff: Cathal McShane receives his Ulster GAA Writers’ merit award from Seamus McMahon (Quinn Building Products) and Writers’ Association chairman John Martin
John Campbell

By John Campbell

By any standards, Tyrone full-forward Cathal McShane had a remarkable Championship.

In racking up a phenomenal 3-49, the 23-year-old Eoghan Roe O'Neill's clubman soared to the top of the scoring charts and, in the process, he served up a series of stellar performances that have thrust him into the frame for an All-Star award.

Among those spectacular displays was his most recent against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final and, although Tyrone lost by 1-18 to 0-18, McShane's seven-point haul (three frees) took the sting from what could have been a heavier defeat.

It was his contribution in that game in particular which has helped McShane become the latest winner of the Quinn Building Products Ulster GAA Writers' Association award.

But, although delighted to be honoured, McShane still harbours disappointment following the setback against the Kingdom.

"I suppose you could say that getting this writers' award takes a little sting out of the defeat but the other lads all put in a huge effort over the course of 10 Championship matches and yet had nothing to show for it," reflected McShane.

"I must say that I was fortunate to be asked by Mickey Harte to move into the full-forward role at the start of the year and you could say that I grew into it.

"I have got to like roving round up front and I must say that I think the position suits me."

McShane's explosive finishing, ability to win frees and cope with the challenges presented by even the toughest defenders marked him down as one of the outstanding players over the course of the Championship season.

His dynamic style, willingness to bring other players into the game and sheer hunger for scores made him a central figure in a Red Hands side that suffered a defeat to Donegal at the semi-final stage of the Ulster Championship before also tumbling at the penultimate hurdle in the All-Ireland.

McShane is already setting his sights on next year.

"I want to improve my personal stats and see the team get silverware," he said. "If we put in the effort we put in this year and we maybe get the rub of the green, it could help to take us places.

"There is great commitment within the squad and Mickey Harte is keen for us to put in a big drive for Championship honours."

McShane received a Belleek Living vase, training gear from O'Neill's International Sports and engraved silver cufflinks from Carlingford Design House as his award package.

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