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McGinley insists that Tyrone won't feel the pressure

By Declan Bogue

Three-time Tyrone All-Ireland winner Enda McGinley has maintained the fall-out between Tipperary and his former side in the wake of the Red Hands' triumph in the All-Ireland Under-21 final back in May will heap pressure on the Munster side ahead of Saturday's senior clash.

The two counties were yesterday drawn to face each other in Round 3B of the All-Ireland qualifiers, with memories of events following the under-age final fresh in the memory.

As victorious Tyrone manager Feargal Logan went to offer commiserations to the Tipperary team, his path was blocked by a county board official, with accusations of sledging and gamesmanship cited as the reason.

While the Under-21 manager was Tommy Toomey, the current Tipp senior manager Peter Creedon was a selector of that team, which included a number of players who will line out on Saturday in Semple Stadium, Thurles, such as Colin O'Riordan.

"I was surprised with how Tipperary came out with the stuff after the Under-21 final," McGinley commented after the draw. "I think it's harder on them, now that the two counties are pitted against each other again.

"Tyrone took a lot of bad press from that. It took a bit of the shine off the Under-21 win. So Tipperary, to a certain extent, have to back that up now and the pressure is on them for their players to go out and produce."

McGinley was present at Tyrone's win over Meath on Saturday. It was noticeable how Mickey Harte played ultra-defensively in the first-half and kept Meath scoreless for the first 29 minutes, and then changed tack for the second-half by bringing on the direct Tiernan McCann, who made a serious impact.

The odd thing about that victory is that Tyrone have received little credit, but McGinley believes the spirit and potential is strong among the group.

The 2008 All-Star explained: "Within the Tyrone squad there will be a sense of what is around the corner and there is a big opportunity for them. I still get the feeling that Tyrone have not hit their stride. It's going to be a tough enough challenge down in Tipperary so there is plenty there to be focusing on from Mickey (Harte's) point of view."

The Errigal Ciaran man was part of two Tyrone teams that used the backdoor to win two All-Ireland titles and can see momentum building in the county.

Although he believes playing in Semple Stadium will be an odd experience, he insists that you don't necessarily have to win pretty in the qualifying series.

"I remember in '08 we scraped through a couple of qualifiers, a few very unflattering games, even our final qualifying round against Mayo was largely rubbished and we were said to be a team going nowhere," he said.

"Yet, within the camp, we realised that Mayo was a hugely difficult game for us to get over, and we took huge confidence from it. We couldn't believe that everyone else was dismissing it.

"I would imagine there are similar feelings now. Those wins are all vital for this squad. The longer they can go, the better."

One player to impress him is Killyclogher's Mark Bradley, a star of the Under-21 campaign, with McGinley enthusing: "I think he's an intelligent player. If anything marks out the modern player it's intelligence and Bradley has that. He has the ability to pick passes and it is a skill that is increasing in value and impact.

"He has that, is evasive, very intelligent in how he moves. He looks comfortable at that level."

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