Tyrone minor football team captain Eoin McElholm is hoping that his team can go some way to providing consolation for Red Hand fans following the senior team’s dismissal from the All-Ireland Championship at the hands of Armagh last weekend.
McElholm’s side will meet Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-finals at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise tomorrow and hope to maintain the fine form which has seen them dominate the Ulster League and Championship to date.
With Kerry having looked formidable in the Munster Championship — where Cork were eventually crowned as champions — McElholm recognises that his team face a difficult challenge against a Kingdom side that is laced with talent.
“We got it very tight in the Ulster final against Derry and now Kerry will be tough opponents for us,” he says. “ But we will be up for the challenge because we want to try and do Tyrone proud.”
In overcoming Derry by 4-8 to 0-16 in the provincial decider, Tyrone showed they have considerable talent in their side.
Ronan Molloy, Noah Grimes, Michael McIlhatton and Caolan Donn elly are accurate finishers, while Conan Devlin is a strong presence at midfield for the Red Hands.
Tyrone have shown their capabilities in terms of scoring goals and if they can hit the Cork net tomorrow then a place in the last four could be well within their gambit.
Meanwhile, Derry will meet Cork in the other match on the quarter-final double bill at Portlaoise.
Derry kept Tyrone at full stretch in the Ulster final with Eoin Higgins, Ciaran Chambers, Odhran Murphy and Ruairi Forbes turning on the style. Higgins and Chambers in particular have been showing a sharp scoring edge and should they be plied with possession, Derry’s prospects of victory will be boosted.
The Oak Leaf side may be without their skipper Ryan McNicholl who is still recovering from a serious injury but the team’s spirit and hunger have roused huge interest among followers in the county.
And manager Martin Boyle believes his team will relish the opportunity to lower Cork’s colours.
“It’s great to be in the running for a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals,” says Boyle.
“We are venturing into the unknown in a sense against Cork but we are looking forward to it just the same. My lads are ready to put their best foot forward.”