Tyrone joint managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher on the sideline in Enniskillen Picture: Sportsfile
Tyrone joint manager Feargal Logan was happy to have reached an Ulster final but he said he was around long enough to know that there are no guarantees.
"I would be pleased but I am around football too long and the amount of winters. You can sit all winter and say what Tyrone are going to do next year but there are absolutely no guarantees in this game so now is the time for this group to seize and get on now with an Ulster final," said Logan, who was really impressed with the venue on Sunday.
"When I came out of the tunnel, it reminded me of Clones; the very bright sky and the very green grass. And I actually thought we were back in Clones when I walked out today.
"But it was great. Proper old, ‘80s, ‘90s, championship football. Thankfully, Tyrone came out the right end of it."
The fact that there was no back door this year is real old-style motivation for Logan. "There’s no tomorrow in that football and that keeps you motivated, keeps you on edge and we preached it to our guys and thankfully they stood up to a man. There were others who are equally good footballers and didn’t get time so, we are just happy to have got a win under our belts and heading to an Ulster final."
Asked about the red card for Michael Murphy, Logan said: "I will have to look at it again. Michael lives on the edge a little bit with his tackling. His first cost him a yellow, maybe the second he looked like he was going for it and maybe he was pipped to the post. Michael has been an outstanding servant of Donegal football, the best manager of a football game on the field I have seen," said Logan, said Logan, who praised his backroom team of Collie Holmes, Joe McMahon, Pete Donnelly, Des McGuinness for their work after the league games. "All these boys set to work in those four weeks and I think we saw the benefit of that time on the training field today."
Logan had sympathy for Murphy. "That’s the reality of it but there is so much chaotic stuff that happens. Murphy is a man mountain of a footballer in every respect and to lose him was a massive blow to Donegal but we shipped a couple of black cards today that left us down to 14 men at times and the penalty shaved the outside of the post so, listen, I could be sitting here on the total flip side of the coin but I do know there is a group of players with ambition and they have suffered hurt at the hands of Donegal in the past and I knew somewhere deep down that could be dug out and we got a bit of that out of them today. "
Logan said they would look forward to the final and give it a go. "We will try! Everyone enjoyed last night’s game, it was highly emotive with Brendan Óg Duffy losing his life. It was very sad all round. Monaghan stood up, Armagh gave it a real go and it was unfrortunate for them.
"It’s devastation in these losing camps. It’s a nice feeling on the other side. We will see what the final brings, who knows, it might be down further south than we are used to."
Asked about the final being played in Croke Park, Logan said: "One, you want people at football; two, I think Clones is still in Monaghan. At the end of the day, not that it has been a barrier in the past, we have always travelled to Clones and it stood everybody well. But if it was to be in Croke Park, then so be it.
"People do want to see football, and the ticket situation is difficult at the moment because you just only have so many. It felt like a good atmosphere there today, I don’t know what the figures were, they weren't that big but there was a good atmosphere."
Asked about the turnaround after the heavy defeat by Kerry in the league, Logan said: "The wise heads around football say that to you, but it's very hard when you’re stood on the sideline and you’ve shipped six goals with a Bainisteor bib on you. But we did think it would strip us back to bare and go at it again, and I genuinely say to you we went into that league with a couple of night’s training sessions. Not that that’s an excuse, Kerry caned us.
"I’m not making too big a point on that. The bottom line is, you need time with these groups and the players and it was a new setup this year in Tyrone as everybody knows. So listen, let’s hope we can keep improving and pushing it on day on day," said Logan, who praised the players for their response.
"To be fair, a lot of them are seasoned campaigners and they weren’t panicking. I don’t think anybody hit the panic button, but they knew that we needed to tighten things up at the back number one. And the players nowadays, it’s very interactive and slightly different from our day with big Art McRory, who was one of Tyrone’s biggest servants. Not that Art wouldn’t have listened to all of your views as well, but it’s a very collaborative approach to gaelic football nowadays, even at club level now. Players have their opinions, everyone has a good thought on things nowadays so the players give us their thoughts, we give them our thoughts and we try to dig the best out of each other."
How impressed was Logan with Monaghan?
"Very, jeepers they know how to close out a game, Conor McManus was outstanding in those last couple of phases of play. For all the talk of Monaghan ageing, they have a set of lively young boys on the block who are able to run their angles, come at speed and hurt you. It was painful for Armagh who thought they had them but that bit of nous, street-smarts got Monaghan over the line. They are massive opponents in an Ulster final so we got to go away now and start that preparation in half an hour’s time," said Logan.
The Tyrone manager said that Darragh Canavan is close to a return: "eah, Darragh is coming. You saw the ankle in Killarney and he is out running and stuff. He would be another brilliant option to have, his speed, vision and anticipation out there today but he just would not have been ready and we will see what the next two weeks brings. He is close, you know, he is close. Conor McKenna, we stood him down last week and took maybe a small risk on him today, but he turned up and turned up well today.d"
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.