Tyrone not up to Donegal’s level of fitness says Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly 

Tyrone not up to Donegal’s level of fitness says Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly 

Darren McCurry scoring the Tyrone penalty on Sunday Picture: Sportsfile

Tyrone captain Mattie Donnelly felt that Donegal were a level or two ahead of Tyrone in their preparations for last Sunday’s league tie in Ballybofey.

The Trillick clubman also felt that the two Donegal goals were big scores and in particular Jamie Brennan’s strike in the early minutes of the second half. 

“We came out at the start of the second half and had a bit of momentum and clawed them back and then they hit us for a second goal,” said the Red Hands skipper.

“Both their goals were kinda similar in that they got in behind us and if you are conceding at this level they have to be hard earned and they were two soft goals to give away.

“How we conceded them is definitely an area we are going to have to look at.” 

Asked if they were a bit off the required pace Donnelly said: “We definitely were not up at championship pitch and up to the pitch a game like this required. Donegal were certainly a pitch or two above us. 

“There was a bit of that and there was an element of the game in two weeks' time at the back of your head too. 

“But we still came here to win and we are now in a position we have to win next weekend.”

Tyrone face Mayo in Castlebar in what is more or less a relegation play-off to see who will join Meath in the drop to Division Two. 

“It will be good preparation for the championship the week after. We did not have challenge games so today’s game was about getting used to playing with each other and there are going to be moving parts in that over the next two weeks.

“We have plenty of work to do and not an awful lot of time to do it.

“The Mayo game is now a championship game and is now a knockout game. If you lose you drop out of Division One. 

“Both counties take great pride in being Division One teams. It is a knock out game essentially and we are going to have to take the learnings from today and see if we can implement them next week.”

One of the positives to come out of Sunday’s game for Tyrone was the performance of Conor McKenna on his first League start. McKenna returned to Tyrone during the summer after playing Australian Rules for a number of seasons.

The Tyrone skipper was not at all surprised that he slotted in so well and played well. McKenna scored 1-2  of the Tyrone tally. 

“Conor is very talented and he has competed at an elite level over in Australia. I had no concern about him slotting back in after seeing him at training.

“Today we have seen what he is capable of and he is only going to get better.”

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