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Red Hands must match the Mourne men for intensity

Comment: Peter Canavan

Forewarned is forearmed and if Monaghan were guilty of not giving Down their dues in the Ulster semi-final, Tyrone now know the story. There was a lot to like about Down in that game. They tackled aggressively, ran hard and took the chances that came their way. And, most importantly, they never let up until the final whistle.

The Mourne men have some excellent operators in Kevin McKernan and Caolan Mooney who can come from deep and land nice points. Players like that are always going to be hard to stop, no matter who you are.

Connaire Harrison kicked some brilliant scores against one of the best full-backs in the game against Monaghan so Eamonn Burns' side have loads of ways to hurt the Red Hands.

Their transformation has been remarkable. They looked like they were in really bad shape at the start of the league but, to their credit, they have turned it around.

But that's Down for you. When they get going, they really start to believe in themselves.

Tyrone would be foolish to take them lightly. The danger for Mickey Harte's men is that people around the county might be telling them that big days lie ahead in Croke Park this season.

With that sort of talk, they might take one eye off the ball and let it wander towards the bigger fish. It's an issue because you can be certain Down are treating this game like an All-Ireland final.

Tyrone will have to match Down's intensity and if they do that, I think they'll have enough to take the direct route.

Like the Leinster final where Dublin have an excellent bench, I think Tyrone have more options to bring in here.

If Tyrone can match the desire Down have shown, they will pull away down the home stretch.

Belfast Telegraph

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