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Return to Tyrone way to take on the Dubs: Cavanagh


Key cog: Tyrone ace Mattie Donnelly
Key cog: Tyrone ace Mattie Donnelly
Sean Cavanagh

By Donnchadh Boyle

The chasing pack are, Sean Cavanagh reckons, doing little in the way of chasing just now.

Last weekend completed the set as far as the All-Ireland semi-finalists were concerned as Galway joined Tyrone and Monaghan in falling in their province and generally failing to show anything that might even hint that the gap to the Dubs was closing.

"It's going to take a phenomenal performance to take them (Dublin) down," Cavanagh reckoned. "Do I think it's (going to happen)? I never thought they were unbeatable, I never thought any team in any sport was unbeatable, but it's going to take a huge improvement.

"I think Kerry are probably the only team on paper that I feel at the moment could go and score enough to take them down. But you're obviously reliant on Dublin not scoring more at the other end.

"But if Kerry can get that forward unit that they have mov­ing then they'll definitely do damage. I'm sort of hoping that they're going to come to the party. If they don't, it's a procession for five."

He won't go as far as writing his own Tyrone side off but they have work to do. Tactically, they are betwixt and between just now and that was exposed against Donegal.

Gone was the defensive solidity so often associated with the county but it wasn't replaced by any free-flow­ing football they hinted at during the league.

If Tyrone can get the mix right, they can challenge once more.

"To be able to beat Dublin, and ultimately that is what we are all talk­ing about here because everyone is flattering to deceive at the moment except for Dublin, you are going to have to score 15-20 points and to do that you need that strength up front and you need the Cathal McShanes and Mattie Donnellys firing," he said.

"So I wouldn't completely abandon what they are trying to do but I think they do have to go back and shut the back door because it looked a little bit naive in that first 20 minutes against Donegal. That isn't the Tyrone way and hasn't been the Tyrone way for such a long time where the ball is being popped over men's heads and there is just a gap, a runway right down the middle of the defence. That doesn't happen.

"So I suspect there were nasty video analysis sessions going on up in Garvaghey the last couple of weeks. But in the long term they will try and make that a good thing because they will have found out a lot about themselves in Breffni Park."

Tyrone did make the headlines for the wrong reasons after Tiernan McCann picked up a ban for his clash with Stephen McMenamin.

"It's disappointing. Tiernan is a very clever guy, he's a pharmacist in his career. I remember after the whole Darren Hughes one (where the Monaghan player ruffled his hair and he fell), speaking to him and he's embarrassed and disappointed," he said.

"One, it should never happen on a field of sport, any of that eye-gouging or mouth-gouging, you never want to see that near any sport­ing field.

"But at the same time being a player, and anyone who has played the game, to me, and I haven't spoken to him or anyone related to the inci­dent, but to me looking in it looked like it was a reaction to something.

"It looked like something had gone on, whether it was verbals or something else. I don't think you do that ordinarily. That's just my opinion."

Belfast Telegraph


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