Tyrone triple All-Ireland winner Sean Cavanagh believes that the Red Hands are currently much better placed to make a major bid for significant honours.
Having already booked their place in the Ulster final against Monaghan on Saturday week in Croke Park, Tyrone’s back-to-back Championship wins against Cavan and Donegal are being interpreted as indicators that even better days are ahead.
And Cavanagh is among those who believe that the actual composition of the side coupled with the renewed spirit which it epitomises augurs well for the immediate future.
“I think that the team has been coming together in fits and starts and you would have to say that the victory in the Ulster semi-final over Donegal last Sunday was their best performance under their new management to date,” insisted Cavanagh.
“I think they have now got into the rhythm of a good defensive shape and against Donegal we saw some of their key attackers really come to the fore.
“Mattie Donnelly had his best game in a long time, Darren McCurry’s influence is improving all the time, Conor McKenna has just made his top contribution since coming back from Australia and Cathal McShane has been making his presence felt as an impact substitute.”
Yet while Cavanagh is prepared to hail Tyrone’s recent progress, he believes that the team have even more to offer.
“I do honestly think that there is another level this side can attain,” he stated. “I know they have the ability to become even better and with the strength they have on the bench this can help to drive things on in terms of competition for starting places.
“We all try to predict how league form can have a bearing on Championship performances but there is no doubt that the level Tyrone reached against Donegal was their best for a while.”
The Red Hands embarked on their Ulster Championship still smarting from that humiliating 6-15 to 1-14 drubbing by Kerry in their final league game but joint managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher worked hard between the end of the league and the start of the Championship to boost morale, assess personnel in terms of team selection and review strategy.
Now the management duo would appear to be in the relatively comfortable position of having adequate cover in every sector of the team, something that is deemed essential in the modern game.
Just as was the case in the win over Cavan, substitutes made a big impact against Donegal with Tiernan McCann, Conor McKenna and Cathal McShane in particular catching the eye.
“I think Tyrone will go into this Ulster final against Monaghan with renewed confidence,” predicted Cavanagh. “This will be another challenge for the team and a different challenge if you like. Don’t forget Monaghan have won three games on the trot against Galway, Fermanagh and Armagh so they too will bring a level of confidence to the table.
“I know last Sunday that missing a penalty and having Michael Murphy sent off were blows for Donegal but as the game wore on a lot of Tyrone players stepped up to the mark.”