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Forwards will have to adapt, says Sean Cavanagh

By John Campbell

Prepare for a summer of defence-orientated teams countered by new modes of attack — that’s the prediction from Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh.

After the furore that surrounded Donegal's tactics last year, the three-time All-Ireland winner expects several of the major teams to adopt a safety first approach.

Defeats to Donegal and Dublin ended Tyrone's interest in last year's Championship and Cavanagh believes some managers will have learned from the Red Hands’ mistakes.

“We thought we'd go toe-to-toe with them. It didn't work — Dublin were fantastic.

“Most teams have probably learned from the way we played against Dublin and the way some teams played against Donegal.

“So I think every team is going to be set up a wee bit more defensively and to try and play on the break a bit more this year.

“It's going to make for interesting watching at times but, fingers crossed, teams will be able to break these defences down — whether it's shooting from distance or shooting from angles or attacking in waves. The style of attack is going to change.”

Tyrone were unbeaten until their Division Two league final reversal against Kildare, but Cavanagh believes they will improve.

“We felt we didn't do ourselves justice,” he said.

And Cavanagh revealed Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has taken a more hands-on approach to the side's preparation.

“Previously we would have been doing conditioning on our own in our clubs — Mickey now supervises most sessions himself.

“This year, particularly, he's left no stone unturned,” he said.

“He's like a dog with a bone when it comes to success and there's nothing he wants more than to see us up those steps in September.

“Over the past couple of years he's probably adapted himself slightly, fine-tuned and improved.

“Given the type of man he is, he's always improving and hopefully that's filtering through to the players and we can show that this year.”

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