The Red Hands went off the boil in the latter stages of their Allianz Football League Division Two campaign, dropping points to Armagh and Fermanagh. But this weekend’s final against Cavan gives them an opportunity to raise the intensity and set standards for the summer ahead.
“We haven’t been ruthless enough in games, and we need to start acting on that now,” said O’Neill.
“We have been doing that in training, we have been working away on aspects of our performance in games, and we’re hoping to improve on that in the league final, and bring it to the championship.
“We always go out to win a game, no matter who it is against, and we always had our target set that we wanted to be unbeaten through the league. We managed to achieve that, but the level of performance wasn’t up to our standard.”
The Red Hands’ preparations for the league decider have been hampered by injuries.
Goalkeeper Niall Morgan is definitely out, and the McGeary brothers, Kieran and Hugh Pat, are struggling with injuries.
But top scorer O’Neill insists there’s no crisis, and that strength in depth will ensure adequate cover.
“It’s unfortunate that these things happen, but it’s part and parcel of football. But the squad depth we have is phenomenal, and no matter who steps out, unfortunate as it may be, someone will come in and replace them of an equal standard.
“This is probably the most competitive squad that I’ve been involved in.
“It shows in our training and our training games. It’s ferociously intense.
“It’s what you need to be successful at the top. People talk about Dublin, that their second team is just as good as their first team.
“That’s what we need to have as well, and we’re working towards that. Things have been moving well, and we need to keep at that and always keep improving and moving on to the next level.”
Sunday’s clash with Cavan will be Tyrone’s fifth Ulster derby in the league this season, and the ideal prelude to a championship opener against Derry next month.
“We’re playing another Ulster team, and you know what you’re going to get with Cavan.
“It was ferocious game the first day, a tough battle, and that’s what you get from Cavan. And that’s exactly what we’ll need before we go into the cauldron in Derry on the 22nd of May.”
Manager Mickey Harte’s winning mentality is a key to Tyrone’s aspirations to success in 2016.
The Red Hands are unbeaten in 12 games since the start of the year, and O’Neill believes the players have their heads in the right place.
“Any day he (Harte) goes out, he always wants to win a game, whether it’s McKenna Cup, National League, Championship.
“He always wants to win and he has instilled that attitude it into us, and that’s our mentality now, that we always want to win too.
“And there’s an extra incentive in that there’s a trophy in it at the end of the day.
“We haven’t had much silverware over the past number of years. When we go out to play for Tyrone, we want silverware, we want medals, and we’ll be looking to collect another piece of silverware.”
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