Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Tyrone look to put a Cork in it

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Art McRory’s contribution to Tyrone football can never be overstated.

A Tyrone man through and through he led the county to both the 1986 and 1995 All Ireland finals.

Never one to sit on the fence he’s revelling in the cut and thrust as the All Ireland football championship steadily gathers momentum.

He has enjoyed every moment of the county’s three All Ireland successes, but as the race for Sam goes into overdrive he urges a certain degree of caution.

The defending champions go head-to-head with Cork on Sunday fortnight and McRory anticipates a titanic struggle.

“Cork’s size, power and athleticism all contribute to making them a formidable side,” said McRory.

“From a football perspective Tyrone will certainly match them, but we don’t have the power, the height, strength or the athleticism.

“Conor Counihan’s arrival as manager has made a difference, but there’s also a much more positive attitude running through the county.”

The former Dungannon teacher puts this down to the fact that county secretary Frank Murphy’s influence is fast diminishing.

That being the case the Rebel county is now blessed with a marvellous set of players all playing for each other which hasn’t always been the case in the past.

And the former Tyrone boss has little time for stories of dissent and unrest in the Kerry camp.

“I suppose it’s fair to say that Kerry wouldn’t have been too motivated when playing the likes of Sligo and Longford,” he said.

“Their display against Dublin last Monday reminded me of Tyrone’s performance against Dublin in last season’s quarter-final.

“Before that game Tyrone’s form had been pretty patchy. They were close to losing to Westmeath in Omagh in the qualifiers, but once they hit form that day against Dublin there was just no stopping them.

“Dublin didn’t turn up and once Tyrone got into their stride they looked a super team.”

McRory had a certain degree of sympathy for the hammering Dublin suffered at the hands of Kerry on Monday.

And he’s convinced it was all down to stage fright, citing the enormous pressure Dublin players have to contend with.

“Kerry are now well and truly back on the road, but I honestly can’t see them beating Tyrone for they won’t win an All Ireland without Kieran Donaghy,” said McRory.

“In my opinion the Tyrone and Cork match is the final in everything but name.

“There is a certain psychological mindset in Kerry about playing Tyrone and it’s become a fixation.

“Providing we get to the final I would be happy enough we could handle Kerry.

“Against Kildare Enda McGinley was badly missed from midfield and his return will add an awful lot more to the whole package.”

McGinley’s impending return, after a hamstring injury disrupted his championship season, forcing him to miss games against both Antrim in the Ulster final and Kildare in the All Ireland quarter final, would be a huge lift for the defending champions.

An All Star last season his return could see Tommy McGuigan under pressure to retain his place in the team.

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