The five Tyrone players to keep an eye on in the Allianz National League
The future is bright in Tyrone.
Tyrone have blooded more new players than most in this Allianz National League so far, so you can expect to see these fresh faces more often in a Red Hand jersey.
Since winning the All-Ireland in 2021, a lot has been made of the amount of players that have left the panel since then, whether it's because of retirement or simply opting out of the squad, there is no doubt that Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan have been hit with massive losses.
In the two years following the All-Ireland success, the Ulster team have been disappointing, and look a little flat, with only flashes of their brilliance shining through at times, with particular thanks to Darragh Canavan who was only an impact sub back in the '21 season.
Now, with injuries adding further names to the absentee list in the squad, management have decided to pin their hopes on the younger players, given them much needed experience, and so far they have had mixed results.
An impressive win against Roscommon was followed by a disappointing defeat to Derry, although it is widely accepted that the Oakleaf county were much stronger in terms of their line up and experience.
Five players in particular stand out as the ones to watch for Tyrone this season:
5. Niall Devlin
The flying half forward was captain of the Tyrone u20 team that won the All-Ireland back in 2022, so he has experience winning things with his county, and has brought that confidence into the senior team.
Already off the mark, scoring against Roscommon in the opening game, it's just about getting experience under the belt at this level for Devlin, and it is clear to see that he has all of the ability and talent required to bolster the squad, it is just his physical conditioning that may need to improve, although that will come with time.
4. Ben Cullen
The Edendork youngster already looks to be physically prepared for senior inter county football, as he is a strong lad, willing to get stuck in to the more attritional side of the game.
His conditioning is another plus for the Ulster team as he can run all day, and will be looking to nail down one of the wing-half forward or wing-half back positions for the championship.
3. Ciaran Daly
58 nóim, #DERvTYR @Doiregaa 0-12 @TyroneGAALive 0-06
Pointe faighte ag Tír Eoghain faoi dheireadh thiar thall
Seanie O'Donnell with Tyrone's first point of the second half.
BEO/LIVETG4 AR @TG4TV 📺#AllianzLeagues #GAABEO pic.twitter.com/nRssyIj7YI
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) February 4, 2024
Although still growing as an athlete, Daly is a real classy forward who can offer scores from all different areas on the pitch. At corner forward he has found himself on the scoresheet in both Allianz National League games already.
Another one of the u20 All-Ireland winning squad, the sharp shooter also enjoyed a fantastic season with county champions Trillick, and would have gathered some valuable experience in Ulster this year as well, all factors that will benefit him greatly as he attempts to make a name for himself at senior level.
2. Sean O'Donnell
Another Trillick star, the versatility of this young man is what will make him a real asset for Dooher and Logan. O'Donnell played at half back for his club and so far this year has lined out at half forward and corner forward.
The youngster has also scored in both games, and got two very impressive points against Derry when the more established stars were struggling to make an impact, so he looks poised to have a big year at inter-county level.
1. Ruairi Canavan
The youngest Canavan brother had his breakout year last season, coming off the bench for most of the championship before nailing down a starting place, and standing out in their victory over Donegal in particular.
Now in his second full year at senior level, all eyes will be on the Errigal Ciaran man to really bring that stardom to the big stage, the only real issue management have is that they don't seem to know how best to play him.
Last year he lined out at both wing-half forward and corner forward, while against Derry he started the game at centre half forward and didn't have the impact he would have wanted.
The talent, skill, physicality and athleticism is all there, it's just about utilising it now and getting the best out of him, and if Tyrone can do that, then they are in a much healthier place than they might appear.
- Tyrone boss Brian Dooher reflects on what went wrong against Derry
- The family ties between the Tyrone and Derry teams go much deeper than just Mickey Harte
- Richie Donnelly's retirement from Tyrone is borderline disastrous for the county