Tyrone captain Brian Dooher has urged fans not to get carried away in the euphoria that greeted Saturday’s demolition of Dublin in a shockingly one-sided All-Ireland SFC quarter-final.
The Clan na nGael man ran himself to a standstill, contributing three fabulous points from play in the Red Hands’ 3-14 to 1-8 triumph at Croke Park.
But as Mickey Harte’s men begin their preparations for a semi-final meeting with surprise packets Wexford, Dooher suggested that fortune had favoured Tyrone on a day when everything seemed to go right, and when nothing worked for a frustrated Dubs outfit who had gone into the game highly fancied to lift the Sam Maguire Cup in 2008.
“We hadn’t been performing that well. We were a poor team coming into this match, and we haven’t become a great team because of that result,” said Dooher following a man of the match performance that almost reached super-human levels. We have a lot of work to do, and we won’t be kidding ourselves about it.
“We have Wexford next, and we saw how they fully deserved their victory over Armagh - they could have won by more.
“We’re under no illusions about the size of the task we have on our hands in a couple of weeks time.”
Goals from Sean Cavanagh, Davy Harte and Joe McMahon had Tyrone fans drooling, and with all but a point of the 3-14 total coming from play, they had every reason to be in high spirits.
Dooher believes Tyrone not only can, but must, step up their levels of performance if they are to make a genuine title challenge.
“I hope we can play better, that’s being honest," he admitted. "There were a few important factors, the goals coming at important times took the momentum out of Dublin, and losing their captain very early on in the game took a great deal of focus out of their attack.
“Alan Brogan would get on any team in Ireland. He’s one of the top marksmen in the country, and whenever you take that out of a team, it does affect it, especially so early in the match.
“Coupled with a few bad wides they had at the start, they probably didn’t play to their potential.”
Paul Caffrey stepped down as Dublin manager immediately after the game. He led the Dubs to four Leinster titles in his four seasons in charge, but was unable to guide them to an All-Ireland final.
“I’d like to praise the players, not only on today’s panel, but the players that I’ve dealt with over the last four years, for what they have given to the Dublin jersey and the pride they have put back into the Dublin jersey,” he said.
And he had special words of gratitude for his backroom team.
“I not only got to know them in a sporting sense, but I know I have friends for life," he insisted.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity, it’s been a great journey, and unfortunately we didn’t get the end that we desired.”
And Caffrey conceded that Tyrone fully deserved their 3-14 to 1-8 win in front of 70,877 rain-drenched fans.
“Heartiest congratulations to Tyrone. Those who know football knew that Tyrone were no bad team coming into today’s game," Caffrey acknowledged.
“We certainly had a healthy respect for them. Some of the bookies that were quoting them at 3/1 must have been off their heads. We couldn’t match them.”