Morgan has learned lesson of Ballybofey

Tyrone’s free-scoring goalkeeper Niall Morgan says he has learned from his baptism of fire in Ballybofey last year.

Morgan has learned lesson of Ballybofey

After an excellent 2013 league, the Edendork man made his championship debut against Donegal only to have an afternoon to forget, missing a number of long-range frees in the defeat having celebrated an early point by making a ‘can’t hear you’ gesture to the home crowd.

A knee injury then ruled him out for the remainder of the summer.

In last Sunday week’s drawn game in Omagh, he was black carded after conceded a penalty, which Down scored and Tyrone subsequently struggled with kick-outs in his absence.

However, he more than made amends with a penalty save in last Saturday’s replay and three dead-ball points from distance.

“Ballybofey was a real learning curve for me,” he recalled. “I reacted to the crowd, which I shouldn’t have done, but I feel I’ve matured and learnt from that and moved on.

“Last week I thought everything was going well until Jerome Johnston decided to take me on and I decided to take him down,” he smiled wryly. “It was great to finish a [championship] game and play well for 70 minutes.”

The 22-year-old felt his replacement in Healy Park, Michael O’Neill, was unfairly criticised after his black card.

“It was very harsh on Mickey because the movement outfield completely stopped once Down got on top of us. We folded a bit and you can’t do that against county teams. Mickey just got the brunt of it unfortunately.”

Morgan put his save from Aidan Carr’s early penalty in Newry down to the amount of homework he did on the Down man’s style of striking.

“I was lucky enough that he hit one last week too. I’d done a bit of research before last week and he seemed to be going to the keeper’s right a lot of the time. But every picture you see of him he has two legs in the air so he’s obviously hitting them with power.

“I tried to get into his head and stood in the one spot and luckily it hit me.”

Morgan may be only in his second season with Tyrone but he didn’t hold back about his thoughts on two-goal hero Ciarán McGinley, who he feels has a habit of playing too much within himself.

“He’s a great player. He’s got serious speed and actually conserves it a bit too much for my liking as I told him afterwards.

“A lot of the time he can play like Ryan Johnson and burn people and leave them in his wake but he doesn’t do it enough for me! Whenever he gets his confidence up he’s a hardplayer to mark.”

Following on from Mickey Harte’s concerns about the club championship in Tyrone going ahead from tomorrow until Wednesday, Morgan agreed it is putting pressure on players.

Edendork, for whom Morgan plays outfield, trained at lunchtime on Sunday, less than 24 hours after Tyrone’s win on Saturday.

“It’s a thing the CCC in Tyrone have come up with and they’re going to stick by their guns but I’m not overly happy with it and I don’t think the majority of the players are either,” he added.

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