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Ryan McMenamin says Tyrone must focus on Ulster title first

Updated: Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 10:58 | Comments

Ryan McMenamin: 'Tyrone will have to learn how to win hard games, and that's going to be key'
Ryan McMenamin: 'Tyrone will have to learn how to win hard games, and that's going to be key'

Tyrone legend Ryan McMenamin has said his county cannot be thought of as a ‘top tier team’ any longer.

Tyrone were put out of the All-Ireland series by rivals Armagh and three-time All-Ireland winner McMenamin believes the Red Hand men must now build for the future.

The former defender told the Irish Examiner: “Definitely not, they’re not a top tier team any more. People have to realise that.

“I played football from 2000 until 2012, and we only won the All-Ireland three times out of 13 or 14 years.

“Before 2003, Tyrone weren’t considered a top tier team, and they have come a long way.

"The boys are going to have to knuckle down and work hard, the team is going to have to lower its expectations and say, ‘well, we can’t win an All-Ireland this year, but we can win an All-Ireland in maybe two or three years’.”

Tyrone haven’t won an Ulster title since 2010, and McMenamin believes that should be the county’s initial focus.

He said: “We have to concentrate on winning an Ulster, and the supporters are going to have to take their expectations down. You never know what can happen next season.

“This group of players have come up from the minors of 2008 and 2010, and have won All-Irelands, but they have won nothing at senior level.

“Donegal proved it in 2011 when they won Ulster, that it was a springboard for them. But Tyrone will have to learn how to win hard games, and that’s going to be key.”

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