Tyrone U20 manager Paul Devlin pictured ahead of the EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Final on Saturday.
Tyrone U20 manager Paul Devlin pictured ahead of the EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Final on Saturday. 

Tyrone relishing another final appearance


Saturday May 14

EirGrid All Ireland Under 20 Football Championship Final

Kildare v Tyrone, Avant Money Páirc Seán MacDiarmada, 5pm

By Cian O'Connell

As an accomplished player and coach, Paul Devlin is well aware of dealing with hope and expectation in the inter-county arena.

A talented Tyrone team face Kildare in an eagerly anticipated EirGrid All Ireland Under 20 decider in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday evening.

Matches have arrived thick and fast in a highly competitive Championship and Devlin is expecting another lively encounter.

"You talk about Kildare over the years, in the last 20 years from the late 90s when they started bringing that team through, Kildare have always been producing great natural, athletic footballers," is Devlin's assessment.

"It is going to be the same scenario for ourselves, and it is going to be a big challenge for us. The U20 Championship final is a big step for the two teams. I am expecting a massive challenge from Kildare."

The manner of Tyrone's win over Kerry bodes well with Devlin delighted with the character his team demonstrated.

"As a lad growing up you always looked at Kerry, who were dominating the sport," Devlin replies. "I said to our lads there has been a lot of rivalry in the last 20 years so it was a great day for both counties, to come out on top in the game was a great learning curve for the lads."

That Kerry victory offered significant encouragement for Devlin. "I wouldn't say we are a defensive team, lads have a job to do on the field - whether that is tracking back or coming up the field you are going to do that," Devlin says.

"Initially our own goal is to get out playing football, to express ourselves, to let the general public all see what we have in Tyrone. The work going on in clubs and schools - bringing that right through.

"I think the lads generally put down a marker last week that the main goal is to get out playing football."

It is precisely why the upcoming decider against Kildare is an eagerly anticipated encounter.