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Under-21 stars will have a key role in Tyrone's grudge match with Tipperary

By Peter Canavan

Published 18/07/2015

'Mark Bradley is coming into this game hitting a rich vein of form as a creative attacker for the Red Hands'
'Mark Bradley is coming into this game hitting a rich vein of form as a creative attacker for the Red Hands'

I expect to see fireworks in the All-Ireland qualifier at Thurles today. Tipperary will be looking for revenge after their defeat in the final of the Under-21 series to Tyrone.

Tipp manager Peter Creedon was also part of the Under-21 management team which refused Tyrone boss Feargal Logan the chance to commiserate with the Tipp players after the final whistle.

Needless to say, the role of the Under-21 personnel could well have a massive input. We have two of the best at that age group in the sport on view; Colin O'Riordan, for example, was the Eirgrid Under-21 Player of the Year and he will have a huge say. Mind you, playing in their Under-21 hurling defeat on Thursday night was hardly ideal preparation.

Likewise, Mark Bradley is coming into this game hitting a rich vein of form as a creative attacker for the Red Hands.

Some pundits are saying this is the perfect draw for Tipperary; they have home advantage, Tyrone are travelling a long distance and they haven't been playing anywhere near their full potential. Tipp will see this as the perfect opportunity to get their revenge.

However, I feel Tyrone will be able to concentrate more on the football and the job at hand. It's not every day you get to play a Championship match in Thurles, a perfect pitch with all that history. It is the perfect place to exhibit their skills and they should tap into that.

Last Saturday in Omagh, they were very defensive in their set-up against Meath. While they were hard to break down, they didn't ask enough questions of Meath's defence. If they are able to move from defence to attack with greater urgency and get the ball to the full-forward line quicker, then they can win.

Galway and Fermanagh produced the results of last weekend. Galway teams in the past had a reputation of being nice footballers, lacking in defensive strategy and a competitive edge. Last weekend in their victory over Armagh, more progress was made in that the Orchard County players knew afterwards that they had been in a hard game.

You could not question their desire, or even cuteness in closing the game out.

Derry will be in for a battle. If they can get enough ball in, they have a fantastic chance. Don't be surprised if this goes to the wire and it may take extra time, but home advantage could see Galway through.

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