The bad smell gave way to a mix of style and substance


There is something about Tyrone, something that arouses emotions in many neutrals. Over the past decade this could hardly be categorized as a fabulous admiration as they made themselves hard to love even in the 2000s with a squad that had a number of brilliant players. They only have reluctant respect.

Certainly know a little about it, as Meath was hardly a role model for virtue in the late 1980s. The team didn’t care. It was a force. The individuals involved were not in vanity or public adulation. They just played their game and became private citizens again. It wasn’t a show, it was just the type of character involved that didn’t need audience approval. They were happy in their own skin.

We met Tyrone a lot during this time. Eugene McKenna and Frank McGuigan were still just as good to Tyrone or anyone else; Noel McGinn and big Audi Hamilton, who ensured that no Meath player would come under crowd pressure after a particularly tough game at Omagh. Then there was my old friend Damian O’Hagan and Kevin McCabe with whom I played club football in Skryne. They were easy to like players. They played hard but when it was over it was over.

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