Tyrone become the latest big gun to open their championship campaign on Sunday when they face Derry for a spot in the Ulster semi-final against Donegal.
With Monaghan, Mayo and Rory Gallagher’s men already having started 2017 with a win, it is the turn of Mickey Harte’s side to show what they can do, in this potentially tricky opener.
While getting to the next round is the most important thing for Tyrone, they will also be keen to put in a good performance. Donegal defeated Antrim with ease at the weekend and the Red Hand County will be looking to do something similar against a Derry side who were relegated to Division 3 of the league in the spring.
Tyrone started their own league campaign in explosive fashion getting three early wins and a noteworthy draw against reigning champions, Dublin.
However, they ended the spring competition rather poorly, losing their last three on the bounce, falling short against, Donegal, Mayo and Kerry.
While nobody is disputing Tyrone’s status as a Division 1 team, or in fact as one of the top counties in the country, the fact that in games against arguably the top four teams in the nation, they got only one point.
With Donegal waiting in an Ulster semi-final, Tyrone will want more than just a win at the weekend, they will want to make a statement. They will want to show their rivals in Ulster and beyond what they are capable of. More importantly, they will want to show themselves that they do in fact belong amongst the big boys at the very highest level.
Since Brian Dooher went up the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the Sam McGuire Cup in 2008, Tyrone don’t have an exceptional record – by their standards anyway.
In the eight years since that win, they have reached the All-Ireland semi-final on three occasions, lost three quarter-finals and failed to reach the last eight twice.
While Tyrone are consistently still involved late in the summer, their failure to reach another final since then will frustrate them.
They will look to rectify that while Mickey Harte is still involved with the set-up. To take the first steps in that path they will want an emphatic victory in the provincial quarter-final.