Wednesday 13 December 2017

Best sides still fear Red Hand, insists Rossies star Cregg

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

ROSCOMMON star Cathal Cregg insists Tyrone still possess the 'fear factor' despite their recent spate of injuries and retirements.

Mickey Harte suggested this week that his side will contain "six or seven different players" from the side that had 11 points to spare over Roscommon in the qualifiers last year.

Of that side, the likes of Sean Cavanagh, Kevin Hughes and Kyle Coney won't feature on Saturday, but Cregg believes Tyrone remain one of the best teams around.

"I don't think any team in the country would fancy playing them," said the Western Gaels man. "The top teams still wouldn't like to be playing Tyrone.

"I fancy Donegal to be one of the teams at the end of the championship this year and (Tyrone) came very close to drawing with them, only for Paul Durcan pulling off such a great save at the end.

"It could have been a totally different game if that had gone in. So they're still very competitive.

"We played them last year and they ended up beating us by 11 points. I think there's still a fear factor there with Tyrone for a lot of teams."

After a dismal display against Galway in the Connacht championship, Roscommon were expected to go down to Armagh in the qualifiers, and Cregg believes a greater application got them through against the Ulster men.

"There were a lot of things that went wrong against Galway," he said. "We talked about them, then parked them. Then we were back to the club for two weeks.

"That was probably the best thing that happened, back to competitive games. Then after that it was just back to training, heads down. There was no key ingredient, just hard work.

"We owed ourselves, we owed the manager, we owed the supporters, we owed everyone.

"I don't think our players could have predicted that was going to happen. It was just one of those days where everything went wrong.

"Thankfully we just put it right the last day against Armagh. It just shows the willingness that's there in the lads. We were five points down at half-time the last day and it could have folded again badly."

Irish Independent

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