26 January 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

So much for the Dr. McKenna Cup being a planet removed from mother Earth.
Football’s bluebloods have all but finished swatting each other in this season’s Ulster’s subsidiary competition and, already, it’s clear that the cream has risen to the top.
By dint of their handsome 2-12 to 1-4 semi-final win last weekend, Tyrone can now prepare for their eighth McKenna Cup final inside the last ten years.
Meanwhile, holders Derry are now just 70 minutes away from back-to-back titles, having overcome Down by 0-11 to 0-9 in their penultimate round tie.
Could anyone honestly say that a month ago they would have bet against either of those behemoths making it to this year’s McKenna Cup decider?
Even taking into account the shadow squads that have been on show in January, the odds on an upset being hatched in this year’s provincial championship have lengthened.
Based on the evidence of the action we’ve seen in the last few weeks, too many teams in Ulster are high on perspiration but sadly low on inspiration.
Efficiency is the quality which defines successful sides and, for the most of the past decade, Tyrone have led the field in that regard.
Though obviously no world beaters at this juncture, Tyrone can add economical to their own personal lexicon too.
Under Mickey Harte, the O’Neill county inevitably find it easier to work the ball into better scoring positions than their opponents.
Tyrone and Derry plus Down are the classiest sides in Ulster. Have been for some time now and they know it; hence the swagger.
All three counties also have players of toughness and dynamism; traits which are key to steering teams into the semis of the McKenna Cup.
Ulster is the most testing, most unnerving of …

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