GAA Football

Tyrone should be fit to compete with Dublin - Aidan McCrory

Aidan McCrory is hopeful that Tyrone can take a step closer to winning the Sam Maguire Cup this weekend.
Picture by Hugh Russell

TYRONE have drawn comfort from recent League performances against Dublin and defender Aidan McCrory insists that the back-to-back All-Ireland Champions are beatable.

Dublin rescued Division One draws against the Red Hands at Croke Park earlier this year and in 2015, both times with late scores from Dean Rock – a 74th minute free in early February, a 69th minute goal two years ago.

With those matches in mind, McCrory has hope for this Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final:

"Given the results, we believe we can compete with them. Are they beatable? Every team is beatable. But in order to beat them it will take the best of what we have.

"We would have to be at our best for a full 70 minutes. And it'll be 70 full minutes of competition.

"So, the challenge for us is can we maintain such a high standard of playing to get us into the late stages of the game and, at that stage, when you're tired, can you still make the right decisions? And, we're just hoping that we are fit enough or we are able to at that stage and that we come out the right end of it."

Video: Tyrone can't worry about how Dublin will perform on the day

A lack of stamina should not be a worry, given the influence of strength and conditioning coach Peter Donnelly, for whom McCrory had high praise:

"This last few years, we have always been fit, but we have adapted it to different styles of fitness, as regards how far you're running, what your rest period is.

"Pete Donnelly is there, and he looks after all that. You nearly don't have to think about it. You train what you're told and the fitness kinda takes care of itself.

"Pete being a player, and he's still playing club football, when you come back into the Tyrone set-up after a club game, he can ask you about games, he knows exactly what you have been put through, and understands what state your body is at, and he adapts training perfectly all the time just to suit whatever state you're at.

"Having someone there who understands what your body is going through, and who understands all the science of it, how you feel, it's nice to have."

Still, the 29-year-old is well are of Dublin's quality, and adaptability, commenting:

"Dublin are capable of doing anything. They can play a long ball, they can play a running game. They have the players there to play whatever they want.

"And, realistically, we can't say what they're going to do. We prepare for everything. We prepare for what they're most likely to do, but be prepared that whatever comes you're ready for it.

"We just hope that we've thought of all the things that they might come up with, and that they don't have anything too surprising for us…

"As the game changes, you have to adapt to it. They might be hitting long kick-outs, they might go short. They're going to adapt to the game as well."

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