Sport Gaelic Football

Thursday 26 April 2018

O'Mahony taking nothing for granted ahead of Tyrone test

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

FOREWARNED is forearmed -- and Tyrone know they're in for a big test from Mayo in tomorrow's NFL Division 1 clash at Healy Park, Omagh.

The Connacht champions destroyed their big rivals Galway and got off to a flying start in the League last Sunday, while the Red Hand was left limp and listless after a six-point defeat to Derry.

Now it's a case of second-match syndrome for both sides as they each have questions to answer.

One game, one win for Mayo, so can they take that form on the road and beard the Northern lions in the own den, or will Tyrone bounce back to re-assert themselves in front of their own supporters? It promises to be a fascinating encounter, particularly as Mayo have no fear of Tyrone.

When it comes to League matches, the Westerners have more than held their own against Mickey Harte's men in the last five campaigns.

From 2005 to 2009 inclusive, the sides have played five top division games. Mayo have won two, Tyrone one, and there have been two draws.

Considering their respective championship performances over the years, with Tyrone winning two All-Irelands, it's tempting to downgrade the qualities Mayo traditionally display in the League against the Red Hand.

However, any side which can more than hold its own against one of the best teams in the country in any competition must be taken on its merits, and that sets up an intriguing prospect for tomorrow.

Mayo manager John O'Mahony won't be booking a room for a celebration dinner with his team after that victory over Galway.

"We might have a fairly good record against Tyrone, but records from the past won't mean anything in this match. We had a winning performance last Sunday but it wasn't a perfect performance. We'll need more of the same, with more added to it, if we're to achieve anything against Tyrone.

"In fact we could face a backlash from them after their defeat to Derry so we will get nothing easy up there," he said.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has committed himself to trying out some new young talent, and also has to cope with injuries to Stephen O'Neill, Brian Dooher, Philip Jordan and Sean Cavanagh.

In addition, the All-Ireland-winning boss has to make do without three other players after the controversial suspensions imposed on Conor Gormley, Justin McMahon and Martin Penrose by the Central Competitions Control Committee.

The one chink of light is that Davy Harte and Ryan McMenamin played their first competitive game of the season last Saturday, when coming off the bench and their presence in the half-back line can only help the cause.

Meanwhile, Harte -- like John O'Mahony -- is concerned more with the immediate future rather than past form.

Harte said: "It's still very early in the season but just the same you don't want to fall too far back in the League. Mayo beat Galway fairly well on Sunday and they will travel to us with a degree of confidence, I would imagine."

Irish Independent

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