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Tyrone can upset all the odds against Dublin in All Ireland final, insist stars of past

All-Ireland SFC final

By Declan Bogue

The Tyrone team hosted their 'Meet the Players' event at St Ciaran's, Ballygawley on Saturday morning, before heading off for a training weekend.

Around the place, red and white bunting appeared on lampposts and houses, the county finally waking up out of a decade-long slumber to bring the bandwagon-jumpers back into the fold as the Red Hands prepare for this Sunday's All-Ireland final against Dublin.

And on Sunday night, the excellent documentary 'Tir Eoghain: The Unbreakable Bond', produced by Eamonn Mallie and focusing on how the minor teams from 1997 and 1998 overcame great tragedies to win all before them, really got the juices flowing.

Despite all that, this team must be the greatest outsiders to reach an All-Ireland final since Mayo were unfortunate to meet Kerry in the 2006 decider.

If there are a couple of men intimately familiar with the current Tyrone panel outside of Mickey Harte, it would be Feargal Logan and Peter Canavan.

As the management team of the Under-21 side that captured an All-Ireland title in 2015, in the three-year period Logan was in that role (Canavan was there for the last two), no fewer than 17 of the current panel passed through their teams.

There are similarities with the generation that Harte himself brought through, as detailed in Sunday's documentary.

"I think they can be got at," said Logan of the Dublin defence.

"Their big asset in nets, a couple of All-Irelands ago his nerve went and it is a matter of getting at them early and hard, and the closer to the game, the more I think we can win it."

Canavan never failed to back himself and he gives the present generation a real chance, despite how they are priced up by the bookmakers.

"Based on the football this year, it is totally understandable that Dublin are favourites," he said.

"But you can get 6/1 with some people. That's some value for money for Tyrone in an All-Ireland final. Mickey has never lost a senior All-Ireland final, and he will come into his own leading into the final.

"He will have these boys in a great headspace, there is no doubt about that.

"I think Tyrone have to play out of their skins to win it. And they played that way for 20 minutes against Donegal. We need them to play like that for an hour against Dublin to win it.

"They have the capability of winning it, but can they sustain it not just for 20 minutes but for at least an hour? If they can do that, they have a great chance."

How Tyrone approach Dublin is a matter of great speculation.

A number of recognised coaches have had their say, from the ultra-defensive to aping the game plans of Mayo in recent finals which have, ultimately, come up short nonetheless.

Canavan feels Tyrone have to front up.

"Mayo have shown us that if you do play at a high tempo and you do try to take them on, you can get at Dublin," he said.

"What Tyrone have to do… it's probably a year early for a lot of these Tyrone boys, they have a lot of learning to do in a short space of time.

"I think Dublin have the experience and they also have the bench. I would say that in most Tyrone games, Tyrone have a stronger bench with the exception of this one.

"You have got to say Dublin have proven match-winners of significance that would be starting in any other team and that has got them through the last number of All-Ireland finals.

"So not only do Tyrone have to contend with a very good Dublin 15, they have to contend with 18 or 19 serious players."

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