Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was relieved after the Red Hands all but secured their Allianz NFL Division One status with a three-point win over Derry on Saturday night.
“It feels pretty good. It’s where we wanted to be. We wanted to be here a bit earlier in the season, but it took us until now to do that, and we are very happy," said the triple All-Ireland-winning coach.
“It was a very intense game here tonight. It meant a lot to the players to keep their Division One status.
“We had a very good first half. Derry came at us very well in the second half, [they scored] five unanswered points and it looked like they were going to take the game. When they got that last free with very little time to go, on such a fine line success and failure is built on."
Harte praised his players for producing a powerful finish despite Owen Mulligan’s missed penalty.
“I think it [Mulligan’s penalty miss] could have cost us the game, but it didn’t, and the way they finished the game was a credit to them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Harte revealed that Stephen O’Neill could make his return to the Tyrone team in the final league game of the year against Mayo on April 12.
Enda McGinley, who has struggled in recent weeks with a knee injury, is also in contention, but captain Brian Dooher is still recovering after undergoing groin surgery.
“Bit by bit players are coming back and it’s the right time to be getting over your injuries. I hope it continues that way,” Harte said.