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Published: 10:34 | 26/5/16

O'Neill almost quit Tyrone squad

Tyrone's Ronan O'Neill has revealed he considered quitting inter-county football last year.

After starting only one of Tyrone's seven Champions games in 2015, O'Neill played all 70 minutes as the Red Hand defeated Derry in the Ulster SFC opener last weekend, scoring 2-2 in the process.

It could have been very different for the Omagh player after a frustrating 2015 left him contemplating his inter-county future.

"I had to think long and hard in the off-season whether I wanted to be with Tyrone this season or if I was good enough to be there," O'Neill is quoted as saying in the Irish Independent. "And decided I gave it a right good lash in the off-season and see where that took me. I got a run in the McKenna Cup and it took off from there.

"I played well in a run of games and with the run of games, comes confidence and with confidence you play better. I stated before that I was probably not up to the level of county standard and probably learned the hard way too, seeing a lot of different boys getting chances ahead of me.

"I just knuckled down this year, did a bit of hard work myself and lucky enough that I got a couple of chances at the start of the year."

Sunday's game was effectively over at half-time after Tyrone netted three goals in the opening 35 minutes and O'Neill admits he was surprised by the amount of space Derry left in their defence.

"It was quite surprising to see that Derry had maybe only one defender back but then again maybe that was to do with our game plan. We had sucked them in and everyone had pushed forward. We know the next day there won't be so much space," O'Neill said.

"I think most teams are setting up with defensive structures in place, especially in Ulster, It's massively competitive."

Tyrone will face either Cavan or Armagh in the Ulster SFC semi-final.

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