Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

McMahon coy over Croke recovery

As the Tyrone players filed out of Healy Park the week before, there were many questions left hanging in the air. The comprehensive ease of victory had caught everyone by surprise.

The rationalisation was sensible and clear-headed. After the sugar rush of victory over Donegal, a slump was almost an inevitability. What they required in Croke Park more than anything was a sign that they were able to put it behind them.

Not only did Tyrone beat Dublin, but they also laid to rest a poor Croke Park record, winning their first game at the Jones' Road venue since the 2009 All-Ireland quarter-final triumph over Kildare.

Justin McMahon, rested for the Cork game but recalled to the heart of defence for this one, wasn't getting too excited about the victory, preferring instead to play the achievement down in the light of Stephen Cluxton and Bernard Brogan's absences.

"We have a good away record [Tyrone have now won all games on their travels against Down, Mayo and now Dublin] and it's good to come back from the performance last week," began the Omagh St Enda's clubman.

"You have to put it into context at the same time, with Dublin missing their key players. It shows that they have a very strong panel and will be very hard to beat in the league and come the Championship later on. They are going to be much stronger later on."

Another aspect Tyrone will be delighted about how the likes of Plunkett Kane, Danny McBride and Ronan McNamee came through a test of character under the harshest glare.

"I suppose for a few fellas playing it was their first time and it was a great experience for them," explained McMahon.

"For the likes of ourselves it always good to play in Croke Park and to use it and bring into other venues. It was a learning experience. Knowing Dublin in terms of intensity and the pace of the game, they were in fantastic shape and that. It was good to get the win and bring it into next weekend."

McMahon was taken off towards the end to protect his tender groin, as he explained, "The groin was playing up on me last week, but we will see what it is when we get back to training on Tuesday night."

While the Red Hands have been able to welcome other players back from injury in recent weeks, the latest shoulder injury to Kyle Coney will come as a huge disappointment. However, a date with Kildare next Sunday is up next for Tyrone and they will take heart from their defeat of the last team to surrender a 100% record.

"Any win at any stage in the year, a win in Croke Park is great to get and it will help any player. We hope to bring that into training and the game next week, and later in the year," McMahon said.

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