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Tyrone will need a fresh gameplan to beat Dublin admits Colm Cavanagh

Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone has been voted as the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month for August in football. Colm is pictured with his PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month Award at a reception in PwC Offices, Dublin Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
By Paul Keane

COLM Cavanagh has admitted that Tyrone will have to come up with a fresh gameplan to beat Dublin in the All-Ireland final but won’t ‘tear up the script’ entirely.

Three-time All-Ireland winning manager Mickey Harte is under pressure to tweak Tyrone’s counter-attacking system for the September 2 showpiece.

They’ve played Dublin twice in the last 12 months in the Championship, at Croke Park and in Omagh, and have come up short on both occasions.

“It’s probably a fair enough point in that we do have to do something different,” said experienced sweeper Cavanagh, the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month for August.

“If we keep the same approach and the same style and the same people and the same personnel, it may not be enough because it hasn’t been enough to date.

“I’ll agree in that we probably have to bring something different to the game. It’s probably no different to any other game in that you have to change for every game.

“I’m assuming every manager before a game looks at the other team and says, ‘How are we going to stop this team?’ and you have to adapt your style and players. Any system of play, you can’t keep that style the whole time so, yeah, it’s probably a fair point that we have to do something different but I wouldn’t say tear up the script, I’d say change a wee bit to try to go at it.”

Cavanagh was part of the last Tyrone panel to win an All-Ireland, in 2008, coming on and scoring a late point in the final win over Kerry.

Harte memorably won the tactical battle that day and has proved himself to be a master tactician over his 15-year reign.

“Mickey has had a good managerial career and has made some really good moves and good tactical decisions over the years,” Cavanagh said.

“We firmly believe that he can pull out another one. We have to believe that we can do it and get in behind Mickey in terms of what he’s going to bring and what he’s going to ask us to do on the final day.”

Tyrone came to that 2008 decider with two All-Ireland wins from the previous five seasons and beat a Kerry side chasing three-in-a-row, capping a glory era for the county.

But a decade on, they’re raging underdogs to beat Dublin and prevent Jim Gavin’s side from claiming a four titles in-a-row.

“Nobody is giving us a chance, we are heavy underdogs so as I said to the lads, there’s no need for any fear, we have to go out and have a go,” the Moy man said.

“If we get beat, that’s fair enough but if we don’t have a go, then that’s the worst case scenario. Yes, we’ll have to change and adapt but we’ll have to play without fear also and really take it to Dublin and see where that takes us.”

The 31-year-old said that Tyrone’s battling display against Dublin in last month’s three-point defeat in the Super 8s at Healy Park will give them confidence.

“Guys can take confidence from that, that we can live with this Dublin team and we can put in performances to rattle them,” said Cavanagh.

“There was a lot of talk after the Croke Park game last year. It probably wasn’t a good thing from our point view in that it may have cast a few doubts in lads’ heads, I don’t know. But I think the game in Omagh made guys realise that we’re not as bad as people might say.”

A decade on from his impact sub role in 2008, Cavanagh is a key member of Tyrone’s first team now and Harte will build much of his defensive strategy around the powerhouse.

“It (the 2008 final) passed me by very quickly,” he said.

“It was my second season in the set-up and, to be honest, I probably took it for granted and never thought about it too much.

“I remember myself and my room-mate at the time, Johnny Curran, playing tennis the morning of the All-Ireland final.

“That was the mindset back then, everything was fly-by-night and take things for granted.

“Now it’s a little different, 10 years on and a bit older and wiser and things mean a lot more now than they did back then.”

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