GAA Football

Kieran McGeary: Inventive Tyrone can wrong foot Dublin

Tyrone's Kieran Mc Geary celebrates at the final whistle in the 2018 All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: Seamus Loughran
Francis Mooney

Kieran McGeary believes Tyrone will have to be inventive if they are to dethrone All-Ireland champions Dublin next month.

An innovative approach could wrong-foot a team that has found a way to deal with every manner of challenge over the past four years.

And he has total faith in the ability of manager Mickey Harte and his management team to hatch a plan capable of halting the Dubs’ charge to four-in-a-row.

“Definitely. We’re going to have to have some sort of a plan. There’s teams that have brought different plans and they haven’t got over the line,” he said.

“But we’ll leave that up to our management team. They’re a very smart bunch, and we’ll see what they come up with.”

At Healy Park a few weeks ago, the Red Hands got a run on Dublin with a hard press in the closing stages of a Super 8s tie, and defender McGeary feels that approach, or a modified version, could pay dividends in the All-Ireland final

“We have run them close, and the last ten minutes, we’ll be looking at that there, and how that maybe helped us.

“There are teams that have got very, very close to them in the past. We have been one of them, Monaghan being another, and Galway have got close in the past.”

A Dublin team that has won every championship game they have played since 2014, including last year’s one-sided semi-final against Tyrone, has commanded the unconditional admiration of the 23-year-old Pomeroy man.

“We saw their calibre again against Galway, they showed their strength in depth.

“I’m sure there were a lot of people that thought Galway was going to do slightly better than what they did, but it shows the strength in depth of Dublin, it shows their capabilities, it shows their determination. It shows why they are the reigning All-Ireland champions for so many years.”

Each member of the Tyrone set-up is acutely aware of the enormity of the task lying ahead, but they’re determined to enjoy every moment of the build-up to the very special occasion that is September 2.

“We’re just delighted to be back here. It’s been ten long years since a lot of people have been back.

“We’ll cherish every single day of the next three weeks and we’re looking forward to the final.”

For most, the All-Ireland final will be an entire new experience.

Only Colm Cavanagh has played in a Sam Maguire Cup decider, coming on as a sub for goal-scorer Tommy McGuigan in the 1-15 to 0-14 win over Kerry in 2008.

But the backroom team is packed with former Red Hand stars with All-Ireland medals.

“We have Pete Donnelly, we have Stevie O’Neill, we have JD (John Devine). We have loads of experienced men that have been there before.


“We’ll take on board their guidance, their advice, and we’ll get ready for an absolute battle.

“Whenever they speak, everybody listens, because it’s very valuable, every word that comes out of their mouth.

“But they’ll not be taking the field, it’s going to be us, and once we cross that white line, it’s entirely up to us. So we’ll get ready.

“It’s going to be enjoyable, it’s going to be tough, but I think after ten long years we’re just about ready for it at this stage.”

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