Tyrone and Armagh played out an intense, physical battle last night in the McKenna cup final in front of 11,000 spectators at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.
In what was a joy to watch for fans given the time of year, with returning Tyrone forward Darren McCurry likening it to a Championship game in terms of atmosphere, as well as quality.
“It was absolutely class, it was like playing in a championship match. That’s what you want coming into a McKenna Cup final, a big crowd who get what they paid in for.” McCurry told BBC NI.
“It was a great match, great atmosphere, great rivalry and that’s what Armagh and Tyrone has always been about and it is great to see.”
McCurry feels that Tyrone are perfectly poised now heading into their Allianz League opener with Kerry next weekend after a tough battle with an Armagh side that the Tyrone forward feels is at a high standard.
“Armagh’s always been at that standard, always a tough team to beat, very physical and that game has done us a great amount heading into Kerry next week.”
Tyrone manager, Mickey Harte reiterated McCurry’s sentiments in the game’s aftermath, highlighting that Armagh had beaten both Monaghan and Donegal in the pre-season competition.
“Well, they’ve beaten Monaghan and they’ve beaten Donegal to get to this final and they’ve given us a hell of a run tonight so, those things speak for themselves, they have definitely been on an upward curve last 12-18 months and that’s a good thing for Armagh and a good thing for Ulster football.
Harte admitted that the intensity of the game did go over the top at times, but said that has always been the nature of Armagh and Tyrone games down through the years.
“It was, and I suppose that is the nature of when we meet, we both want to win the game, so tempers fray here and there and it’s pretty intense.” Harte told BBC NI.
“But it’s good preparation for both teams as we head into our respective National League’s.”