GAA Football

We need more intensity to overcome Dublin says Tyrone ace Colm Cavanagh

Colm Cavanagh is seeking improvement after Tyrone saw off Roscommon in their Division One opener
Francis Mooney

Tyrone got away with a few on Sunday, but they won’t find the Dubs so goal-shy if the chances are presented so generously at Croke Park next weekend.

Roscommon hit the net as early as the second minute, and broke through for three more cracks at goal in the first half alone.

Colm Cavanagh was relieved to see Mickey O’Neill spread himself to save from Ciaran Murtagh and Ultan Harney, and equally grateful to Tiernan McCann for his vital block on Sean Mullooly.

The Red Hand midfielder insists basic errors must be eradicated of they are to get anything out of Saturday’s clash with the All-Ireland champions.

“Dublin are going to be favourites, there’s no doubt about that. They’re the champions after all, but we’re going to have to up that intensity level, we’re going to have to cut out a lot of the mistakes we made, because when we look back at the game, I’m sure there were a lot of unforced errors on our part,” he said.

“A lot of passes went astray, a lot of simple things went wrong. We’ll have to work on them in training this week, to be fair, and I’m sure we’ll do a bit of video work that will hopefully highlight those issues and hopefully we’ll improve on them next week.”

Tyrone may have to face the Dubs without All-Star Mattie Donnelly, who shipped a heavy bang to the head early on at Healy Park, and may be forced to sit out this weekend’s tie by a concussion assessment.

“It would be a massive loss. Obviously Mattie has been one of our best players for the last number of years. To lose him against Dublin would be a big blow loss for us.

“But we have a good squad, and if Mattie isn’t playing, whoever comes in will be able to do a job for us.

“It gives an opportunity, potentially, for someone else to come in and stake a claim.”

Donnelly’s switch to centre back has meant a change in midfield partner for Cavanagh, who lined out alongside Padraig McNulty during the Dr McKenna Cup, but had league debutant Declan McClure by his side on Sunday.

“Declan was fantastic, he battled well he caught ball, he made good forward runs, a real fit lad making a great start for himself, and hopefully that will continue.”

Tyrone have frequently found themselves floundering in the relegation zone n recent seasons, and at the end of the 2005 campaign, failed to avoid the drop.

After a season spent in Division Two, they’re now happily back in the top tier, aiming to stay there without the need to scramble for points in the latter stages of the campaign, and Sunday’s six points win over Roscommon got them off to a positive start.

“We got two points, and we’ll be looking for two points next week, and gradually build that up.

“We get our points on the board, consolidate our position in Division One and see how it goes.

“It was important for us to get the two points. That was our aim, and if you lose the first game, you’re always looking over your shoulder for the rest of the campaign. So job done, but obviously more to come.”

Cavanagh wants to make Healy Park a fortress once again, and that means reversing a recent poor record at the Omagh venue.

Sunday’s 0-18 to 1-9 victory over the Connacht men represented a decent start, but tough league tests lie ahead at home to Cavan, Monaghan and Mayo.

“It’s important. When you’re at home, you always expect a victory and you always want a victory, and we did that, so I’m hoping we can continue that going forward.”

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