GAA Football

Tyrone must fully refocus for Super 8 showdown with Roscommon

Tyrone star Colm Cavanagh against Monaghan during the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Healy Park, Omagh. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.
Shane Power

TYRONE’S destruction of Cork on Saturday afternoon may have put the seal on the mouth-watering prospect of Dublin coming to Healy Park next weekend – but Colm Cavanagh has said that they can’t let their thoughts drift past Roscommon as they get set to begin their Super 8 campaign.

The Red Hands meet the Connacht side in Croke Park on Saturday with Kevin McStay’s team making the last eight courtesy of their thrilling win over Armagh, a match that preceded Tyrone’s clash with the Rebels.

“I didn’t see much of the game,” Cavanagh said of the Roscommon victory.

“We’ll look at them this week but they seem formidable.

“I saw them in the Connacht final against Galway and they looked very, very impressive, they could have nipped Galway.

“The first game is going to be a massive test and it’s very important in this type of champions league structure.

“If we get the first win then we’re pushing for top place but if we lose the first game and the second then we’re gone.

“It’s very important to get off to a good start next week.”

Tyrone’s final step to the Super 8s proved the easiest of the lot with Cavanagh one of 10 scorers in a 3-20 to 0-10 victory in Portlaoise.

It may not have been the perfect preparation for Mickey Harte’s side going forward, but it was a reminder of what they are capable of when they are on song.

Cavanagh still needs convincing that they’re back at the top of their game, but he is looking forward to finding out over the next four weeks.

“I still don’t think we would be happy with some of the things we did today.

“It’s only going to get harder from here so you have to step forward and improve again to be able to compete in the Super 8s.

“We haven’t hit heights that we have probably hit in the last year or two.

“We do know that there are big performances in this team on any given day.

“We also know that there can be average performances on any given day.

“As the cliché goes, we just have to look at the next opponent and it’s going to be an interesting few weeks with the new system.

“We’ve played a lot of football over the last three, four, five weeks so hopefully that stands to us in the coming weeks.”

On top of dominating Cork in every sector, Harte was also able to give some minutes to Mark Bradley following his return from injury.

Cavanagh believes that the new format of the All-Ireland quarter-finals, where they will play Roscommon, Dublin and Donegal, makes squad strength the most valuable of assets.

“Personally I had a bit of a setback and it has taken me to now and probably over the next few weeks as well to get back close to full fitness.

“People talk about the games being tiresome, that playing week-on-week is bound to be strenuous on the body.

“I don’t believe that. I love playing football week-on-week, I look forward to the excitement of matches.

“If you can’t get yourself up for this time of the year I don’t know when you can.

“We have a few lads back, it’s great to see Mark Bradley back there.

“We have lads that weren’t used today that are chomping at the bit. The team is going to be very important going into this new system because there are going to be different lads used in each game.

“I believe that we are blessed with that. We have a strong 15 and a strong bench.

“That’s hopefully going to stand to us in the coming weeks.”

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