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Joe Brolly claims that Tyrone player has told him privately that training is 'depressing'

By Jackie Cahill

Joe Brolly has claimed that a Tyrone player told him privately that training with the county team is “depressing.”

Speaking to the RTÉ GAA podcast, Brolly also believes that “it’s time for change” and that “a psychology of fear” is gripping the Red Hands.

In a wide-ranging assessment of Mickey Harte’s charges, former Derry star and outspoken pundit Brolly insists that “any commitment to attack” has been “coached out” of the Tyrone players.

Brolly says that “Tyrone are deteriorating very quickly”, along with team morale.

He said: “Tyrone are deteriorating very quickly and morale is deteriorating very quickly.

“My reading of what was happening last year was that they were putting together a really strong defensive system, the first part of the formula, but would work on a really strong attacking plan, but they haven’t done that.

“They’re stagnant and you can see that the whole experiment’s coming off the rails now.”

Tyrone slumped to a third successive Division 1 defeat against Kerry last weekend, leaking 1-21 against the Kingdom in the process at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.

Having opened the campaign with three victories from their opening four games – and a draw with Dublin – the team’s form has dipped alarmingly.

And Brolly said: “What you’re seeing with Tyrone is the dreadful boredom of it for the players, no release from the automated system.

“I spoke to a couple of the Tyrone players privately a few weeks ago. One of their better players, one of their really, really good players, and you should hear what he’s saying in private about how depressing the training is and how they’re playing, and you can see that now.

“I do believe it’s too late to change to a more expansive style. They have the players but what they don’t have is any commitment to attack. That’s been coached out of them.”

Brolly added: “They decided about 18 months, two years ago, to go completely defensive and play two sweepers on the edge of the square, to have a very automated, defensive system but it was overwhelmingly taken in favour of defence.

“What you see now is that psychology of fear has taken hold and they don’t really know how to win games any more. They know the system is malfunctioning and not working for them.

“At one stage (against Donegal), they were seven (points) behind and had two sweepers on the edge of the square pointing at each other – that tells you all you need to know.

“If Dublin are seven points behind, you’d better get ready because they’re coming for you.”

When asked if it’s time for a change in management in Tyrone, Brolly replied: “It’s none of my business but it’s time to change now. You can see that, for roughly what, eight years now, that they’ve gone increasingly defensive and there’s less and less to admire in their play.

“If you’re not playing with adventure, players don’t want to play, supporters don’t enjoy it, it’s not a shared journey. And it just becomes depressing – that’s what’s happened with Tyrone football.”

Irish Independent

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