Tyrone goalkeeper Morgan thought team-mate McShane would accept AFL move

Cathal McShane
Cathal McShane's decision to stay with Tyrone came as a major boost to the Red Hands

Niall Morgan says he thought Tyrone team-mate Cathal McShane would accept a move to AFL club Adelaide Crows before opting to stay with the Red Hands.

McShane took two weeks out of training before making his decision in February.

"Mickey [Harte, Tyrone manager] said to him, 'I want you to go away and have a think about what you want to do as you can't dip in and out," said Morgan.

"We thought 'there's no way he's turning this chance down' but it was a massive boost when he decided to stay."

"We knew there were clubs looking at him in Australia and I think Mickey was looking out for the rest of us and didn't want us to see Cathal was in and out of training," the Tyrone goalkeeper told BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound Extra Time.

"In the end it was great he made the decision he made as we were already missing Mattie Donnelly for the League so that was potentially taking away your two main threats inside."

'Injury unfortunate..but pitch was ridiculous'

McShane was carried off with an ankle injury in the Division One defeat by Galway - and although scans revealed that the injury was not as bad as first feared - it showed that he had sustained a dislocation and damaged ligaments.

"Getting injured was so unfortunate for him," said Morgan of the Owen Roes clubman.

"Much as it was decent weather that day, the pitch in Tuam that day was ridiculous, it was so soft.

How more people don't get injured on it I don't know. It needs a serious lot of work."

'Not far from where we wanted to be'

Niall Morgan
Niall Morgan celebrates Tyrone's Division One win over Dublin at Healy Park on 29 February

Prior to proceedings being halted by the Coronavirus pandemic, Tyrone had enjoyed a mixed league campaign to date, home wins over Kerry and Dublin being mixed with away losses to Monaghan and Galway.

"We were not far from where we wanted to be but there was still a lot of work to do.

"If we played Kerry and Dublin again later in the year those victories wouldn't be a factor as they were both horrendous days weather-wise.

"We have been missing players at various stages so if the season does resume it might do us the world of good to have everybody back fit and injury-free.

"Nobody knows how long this will last or how long it will be before we return to team training or indeed how long before they put 30 or 40,000 in a stadium again to watch a football match."

'I have years back in the Irish League'

As well as playing a key role for Tyrone in inter-county football, Morgan has also turned out for Dungannon Swifts in the Irish Premiership and he continues to train with the Stangmore Park outfit periodically.

"I played three games this season for Dungannon and conceded something like 15 goals so I don't know whether they will be asking me back," quipped the experienced stopper.

"It's something I really enjoy and I have years back in the Irish League but I just don't know when I'll be going back.

Morgan in action for Dungannon Swifts against Linfield
Morgan in action for Dungannon Swifts against Linfield

"The main difference between the two sports is that the kick-out is more important in GAA than in soccer. In football it's about getting the ball up the pitch and trying to get it into the corners.

"You are protecting the net at all times as players are always going for goal, whereas in gaelic you might not have a single save to make all day.

"That's why the kick-outs are the most important part of goalkeeping in GAA where you could go three games without having a save to make."

Struggling for self-motivation

Like most sports stars Morgan is continuing to train on his own during this period of social distancing caused by the Covid-19 health crisis but he admits he misses the incentive of being involved in a team environment.

"I'm used to training with a team and when you are not maybe feeling up to it your team is there to push you on that last bit. Being by yourself is so difficult.

"When you are training or doing a gym session on your own it is hard to push yourself that extra wee bit and get that self-motivation.

"But the way you have to look at it is that at some stage we will be back as a collective and you don't want to be letting the boys down."

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