Tuesday 27 September 2016

Cavanagh says Tyrone looking no further than Ulster battle

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

Sean Cavanagh: 'To progress through the Ulster Championship is a serious target for us at this point. If we were to get through Derry and the winners of Cavan and Armagh and get to the Ulster final again that would be serious progress for us' Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Sean Cavanagh: 'To progress through the Ulster Championship is a serious target for us at this point. If we were to get through Derry and the winners of Cavan and Armagh and get to the Ulster final again that would be serious progress for us' Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh admits he's not quite sure where his young team stand in terms of the big fish after their league campaign.

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The Red Hand completed an unbeaten Division 2 campaign when seeing off Cavan in Croke Park to claim the silverware last Sunday. And in the process they extend their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions this year.

But after seeing Dublin scorch past Kerry yesterday in the Division 1 decider, the Moy man isn't sure if Tyrone's emerging young side are ready to operate at the highest level as they prepare to take on Derry in their Ulster Championship opener on May 22.

"We have a good squad - I have said that many times - but it is difficult to know how close we are to Dublin to Kerry to Mayo even to Donegal," Cavanagh said.

Tyrone are without an Ulster title since 2010 and Cavanagh identified that as the next major objective for Mickey Harte's side.

"To progress through the Ulster Championship is a serious target for us at this point. If we were to get through Derry and the winners of Cavan and Armagh and get to the Ulster final again that would be serious progress for us.

Progress

"I think we can't look any further than that stage - I hate to be throwing out clichés but it's 2010 since we won our province.

"That's the mindset - it's job done in that we are a Division 1 team again and we won our pre-season tournaments but the real work starts now."

Sunday saw some of Tyrone's emerging players make big statements with Conor McAlliskey hitting five points in a superb kicking display.

Ronan O'Neill landed 1-3 and Cathal McCarron kept Seanie Johnston out of the game.

And Cavanagh believes the county are starting to reap the rewards of blooding those players over the last few years.

"In 2014 championship I think through the Down replay, Monaghan and Armagh we maybe used 34 players in three games and maybe we weren't sure of our best team.

"It took most of last year to find that and we were narrowly losing out in games and in championship we found a wee bit of momentum and more of a settled team.

"And now a year on they are year older and with a nice mid range of players in Mattie Donnelly and Peter Harte and Colm, those lads are in their mid 20s and hitting the top of their game.

"So we have a nice age profile and we have leaders all over which is always a good thing."

Irish Independent

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