McGuigan answers call from Harte
BRIAN McGUIGAN is ready to commit to the Tyrone cause for another season, after coming out of retirement in the face of an injury crisis. The Ardboe man’s glittering inter-county career appeared to be at an end last year when he revealed he would not be involved this season.
And having been coaxed back by manager Mickey Harte, the 32-year-old playmaker feels he has more to offer. “Once you say you’ve retired, its closure. I’m not making any rash decisions,” said McGuigan.
And he has urged the other experienced players in the squad who may be considering retirement to stick with the team. He feels experience is vital to Tyrone’s strategy of integrating young talent and laying the foundation for future success.
“If you look at the Cork team, they have players in their 30s too. The likes of Graham Canty last week, who I thought was exceptional. I still think you need those types of players.”
And with the Tyrone SFC now in full swing, McGuigan expects players who have been the mainstay of the county team for the last decade to shine. “I’d say if you go to the club championship this summer, a lot of those established players will be among the best players.
“I think you need experienced players there to help bring the young ones on, it’s just about getting the right mix.”
The treble All-Ireland winner is excited by the prospect of a clutch of key players returning from long-term injury to boost Tyrone’s challenge for honours in 2013.
“Whenever you see Seán Cavanagh making his comeback, and the likes of Ronan O’Neill and Kyle Coney coming back, there’s still the players there to do something with Tyrone.”
Despite Tyrone’s success over the last 10 years, only one of their three All-Ireland triumphs attained via the direct route.
McGuigan feels Tyrone should follow Donegal’s lead and target the Ulster title next year, thus avoiding the Qualifiers.
“Maybe we should aim to win through the front door, to win an Ulster title and take things from there the way Donegal have.”
And he revealed that he had no hesitation in answering the call when Mickey Harte asked him to return. “Mickey has done a lot for us over the years and once he calls for you, you respond,” he said.