Monaghan v Tyrone: Dooher keeps firing our belief, says McMahon
Joe McMahon is in absolutely no doubt that two words have to date provided all the inspiration that Tyrone require in their bid to land back to back Ulster titles. And those two words are - Brian Dooher.
McMahon, himself a fixture in the Red Hands side but a player who is never prepared to take anything for granted in terms of his selection, firmly believes that dynamic skipper Dooher is the yardstick by which the rest of the players, even the more experienced competitors, must measure themselves.
“Here he is back again at 35 years of age after spending the winter in rehab and he’s going as strongly as ever. He has battled against injuries and although he played hardly any football for Tyrone for months and months since last year’s All Ireland defeat by Cork he has been able to bounce back for the Ulster Championship and gee the rest of us up,” points out McMahon, brother of Red Hands’ full-back Justin.
And if Tyrone’s current fitness levels are such that the team’s overall movement and agility have thrust them onto a higher pedestal already, McMahon pinpoints what he believes to be the reason for this.
“You can take it from me that Brian Dooher is the man we are usually all trying to keep up with at training. He sets a hot pace and is prepared to punish himself for the good of the team. And his willingness to dig out dirty ball in matches is legendary,” affirms McMahon.
He added: “Prior to the championship people were writing us off saying we were a tired team and that we had lost our hunger. Maybe the fact that we suffered relegation to Division Two of the National League contributed to this outlook. But there is still a lot of hunger in this Tyrone side and I hope that this will be very much in evidence against what I think is a very capable Monaghan side on Sunday.”