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McMahon plans to go at full pelt in All-Ireland bid

By Kevin Kelly

Tyrone's stand-in captain Joe McMahon has called on the Red Hands to produce performances from start to finish if they want to emerge from the All-Ireland qualifiers and have a run at claiming the Sam Maguire.

With regular skipper Stephen O’Neill ruled out of Saturday’s qualifier against Roscommon due to injury McMahon had the honour of leading Mickey Harte’s charges.

The big Omagh man has been arguably Tyrone’s best performer in this season’s championship and he once again led by example from the midfield engine room when he not only contributed two points but got in an enormous amount of work as well.

Things weren’t going according to plan after half an hour with the sides tied at 0-4 each, but Tyrone turned things around in style although McMahon admits that it was only in the second half that they played the football that they are capable off.

“We knew that it was going to be tough for us after the manner in which Roscommon had beaten Armagh the last day,” said McMahon.

“Armagh were expected to go on and do well in the championship but after playing well early on they lost their way and Roscommon turned the game around in the second half and we were wary of that at half-time.

“In the first half Roscommon were easily the better side as we were too easily dispossessed, but a few words at half-time got us refocused and we played a lot better after the break. The penalty was a key score at the start of the second half but we also used the ball better against the breeze as we worked it in and had men running off the shoulder, something that we hadn’t been doing in the first half.

“We were hanging back too much and they were getting men behind the ball and making it difficult for us.”

With Owen Mulligan turning back the clock with a superb display Tyrone hit 1-6 without reply to more or less end the game as a contest and Joe was quick to point out the contribution that their substitutes made.

“Once we got our goal we never looked back and were able to take men off the bench who made a good contribution such as Darren McCurry while Niall McKenna scored as well and it was good to see Brian McGuigan getting more game time,” said McMahon.

Tyrone now await this morning’s draw to see who they face in the third round of the All Ireland qualifiers next weekend and while they have only a week to prepare for it Joe says he prefers it that way.

“That’s what you want, the matches coming thick and fast as it means that there is little time for training,” said McMahon.

“You always learn more from playing games. It’s a quick turnaround, regardless of who we get it will be a tough challenge but we will be looking forward to it.”

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