Cathal McShane . . . ties to Tory Island
Tyrone young rising star Cathal McShane has more reason than most of the Red Hands squad to have a healthy regard for Donegal.
Born and reared outside Strabane and just a stone’s throw from the Donegal border, Cathal also has strong family ties with Donegal.
“There is always that bit of rivalry and you always want to come out on top against them,” said the Owen Roe’s clubman.
“I live only about ten minutes from the border and I have family in Donegal down around Falcarragh and Tory Island.
“My grandmother Bridget Doogan is from Tory Island and when I was younger I used to spend a lot of my summers on Tory Island.
“I don’t get the chance to go down as much now because of my football commitments. But there still is always a fair bit of banter with the cousins and relations every time Tyrone and Donegal meet.”
And in Cathal’s short career (he is only 22), he has crossed paths with Donegal a good number of times in big championship games.
“I have good deal of experience playing Donegal at U-21 level in the championship. We played them twice in Celtic Park and we won on both occasions but the last time we were a bit fortunate to win.
“Donegal were very strong that year. I also made my senior championship too against Donegal, on my first year in the squad.
“So overall I have a fair bit of experience playing against Donegal and by and large they have all been good experiences.”
All of Cathal’s meetings with Donegal have been close and testing encounters both at U-21 and senior level and the All-Ireland U-21 winner is expecting nothing less in this weekend’s final.
“We will try and get the win on Saturday. But obviously it won’t be easy. Donegal have put in a number of great performances in the league and they are unfortunate to be sitting on no points.”
And he insists though Tyrone’s main focus is on the Allianz National Football League that the Red Hands will not be holding back.
“It’s a final, silverware is up for grabs and Tyrone are going for seven in-a-row and the McKenna Cup is important to us.
“We have a big squad and boys will be looking to get a chance to play on Saturday and stake a place in the team for the rest of the league.
“We will use the McKenna Cup as we always do to give boys their chance to stake a claim and get ourselves ready for the rest of the league.”