McGinley pins faith in young Tyrone talent

ENDA McGINLEY, the latest member of Tyrone’s treble All-Ireland winning team to end his inter-county career, believes a young and rejuvenated Red Hand side can make a big impact next season.

McGinley, who has joined Brian Dooher, Philip Jordan, Conor Gormley and Ciarán Gourley in retirement, is certain manager Mickey Harte has enough talent to keep the county at the top.

And he urged Tyrone’s fringe players to seize the opportunity.

“I think that by us boys leaving, Tyrone will have a much better chance this year. I think it will immediately bring a freshness into the squad and energise the younger players. This will help them to push on, it will give them more space and more opportunity to push on. And I think Mickey will use that. This sense of rebuilding will be ideal for him to build into next year.”

Aged just 30, McGinley’s decision to quit was influenced by a combination of work and family demands.

But he intends to continue playing for his club, Errigal Ciaran.

“I’ll continue with the club and I’m looking forward to that. I know 30 is relatively young to be retiring from inter-county football, but I just feel I have had a long 10 years, and with work and family and everything else, the balance just wouldn’t have been right, and I maybe wouldn’t have been able to give it the commitment it needs.”

A glittering career saw the Belfast-based physiotherapist win All-Ireland medals at minor, U21 and senior levels, as well as an All Star award in 2008 after helping Tyrone win the Sam Maguire for the third time.

“2008 would have been my best year. But the thing that will stick with me most will be just the crack that I had during those years, the friendships, the good fun, the laughs and the slagging.”

Indeed he counts himself fortunate to have been around for a golden era in Tyrone football. “I continually remind myself about it, that we, as a group of players who came together as a minor side in 1997/98, that we have been exceptionally fortunate. When we came together we were quite similar people, useful in terms of football, and then we fell in with a manager who was really on his game too. Then the whole thing led to 13 or 14 brilliant years that we can all look back on very proudly.”

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