Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Adrian Logan: Sour grapes can’t take anything from Tyrone

What a week it has been for Tyrone - and Ulster. For the first time ever a county from the province has won both Senior and and Minor All Ireland titles. For all Tyrone fans this is as good as it gets.

Seven wonderful days when all the hard work over the past few decades has produced victories with real style against top-class sides.

The win last weekend in Croke Park was something else and despite it being one of the best finals we have seen in years, I feel the southern media and many of the southern pundits have been less than complimentary towards this Tyrone team.

Since the final I have read what several leading journalists have written in national newspapers on the cynicism of Tyrone football and how they set about their task of curbing the Kerry side.

People have been saying that Tyrone were allowed to get away with a ‘professional type fouls’ because of the leniency of the referee.

Surprise, surprise! I have watched the video of the game many times since and I fail to see what they are getting at. Both sides were guilty on occasions of stopping players from getting past and several times players from both sides committed blatant fouls but I still can't see what all the fuss is about.

Could it be that all the journalists who are complaining are just annoyed because they got it wrong?

Even last week on ‘The Sunday Game’ Pat Spillane looked in pain as he struggled through a programme set to laud the All Ireland champions. There was lots of talk of the collective will and team ethic of Tyrone but hardly any mention of the individual brilliance and skill of the side.

I have also been amused by the rowing back of several journalists. In the build-up to Tyrone's clash with Kerry it was winner take all. It was the game to decide the team of the decade, was it not?

I have been struggling to find the same journalists and pundits putting that accolade on the Tyrone side. Some have even been saying that Kerry have won more All Irelands this decade and by right are the team of the decade. So much for all the hype before the final.

It's that sort of begrudging stupidity that Kerry have been sadly buying into. When I left the All Ireland final last week I didn't get one handshake nor one word of congratulations from a Kerry person.

That was in stark contrast to the day Tyrone beat Armagh to win the All Ireland. Every Armagh person I met that day wished Tyrone well.

On the Monday I had a good chat with my good friend Sean Kelly. The former GAA President and Kerry man took time out to ring and congratulate everyone involved in Tyrone for the marvellous display in Croke Park. Then again Sean Kelly was always a class act.

The one thing that appears to be coming through even at this stage is that Kerry seem to fear Tyrone more than they respect them. If that's the case then therein lies the problem.

Even after their defeat to Tyrone this decade many Kerry fans will still maintain that Kerry are a better team. Many Kerry people will trot out various excuses.

I even heard former Kerry boss Jack O’Connor say on radio this week that the replay game with Cork was a crucial factor in the defeat. He maintained that Kerry needed the fourth week to prepare for the final. I remember that replay win over Cork. It was played on the same day Tyrone beat Wexford.

Away from the seniors the, Minors on Saturday were something else. The match with a great Mayo side needed extra-time and some brilliant flashes of play to decide the issue.

Kyle Coney got the man of the match award but there were several other contenders. Peter Harte at centre half back was immense and Niall McKenna was a chip off the old block with his driving runs and cool finishing. It was just like watching Eugene all over again.

The minors dug out a great victory over a great Mayo side but they had to work hard. The referee didn't help their cause. At the end of normal time the free-kick count was 27 in favour of Mayo and Nine for Tyrone. Yes Tyrone had to beat the lot but they did that in style and their victory made Tyrone people very happy. It’s Red Hand rule!

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