GAA Football

Dermot Carlin: Tyrone must raise intensity levels to claim Sam

Tyrone's Dermot Carlin evades Antrim's Michael McCann. Picture: Seamus Loughran.
Francis Mooney

Tyrone must evoke the spirit of 2003, when intensity levels went through the roof as they swept to a first All-Ireland football title with victory over Kerry.

That’s the opinion of one of the history-makes from 15 years ago, Dermot Carlin, a teenage member of that legendary breakthrough squad.

Carlin feels that if they are to get the better of Dublin in the All-Ireland final on Sunday week, they must knit those degrees of relentlessness into a structured tactical strategy.

“If you look at the hurling final, the intensity levels of Limerick were something like what we had in 2003,” he said.

“If we can bring that, the same sort of intensity and push it on like that, you never know what can happen.”

He wants to see more of the hard press approach that put the Dubs under so much pressure in the latter stages of the Super 8s clash at Healy Park a few weeks ago.

“Did we get a wee glimpse of that up in Omagh that night, the last ten minutes, where the intensity levels increased and we did put Dublin under pressure?

“For the lads, that probably gives them a lot of confidence to say, look, if we do bring this intensity for a lot longer, the rewards are there.

“It will be a big ask to do that, but if they can do that, definitely it will be something to look to.”

Tyrone are faced with a dilemma in deciding on how they ought to take on the champions – should they push forward with an emphasis on attack, or pack the defence to keep things tight?

Carlin recognises the risks associated with committing bodies to the offensive, but feels an effective balance can be struck.

“It is (risky), but I think we have found two different ways of pushing up. In the earlier stages, we seemed to be going very zonal, and then in the last couple of games, such as against Monaghan, we seemed to be going man go man.

“I think if we go man to man, we night have more success. It means that if there’s something turned over, you have more chance of getting back.

“I know in Omagh that day, Bryan Fenton picked up a few kick-outs which went over the top of the zones, but I’m sure Mickey will have plans to address that.”

But the Killyclogher man insists that Tyrone need to push up on Stephen Cluxton’s kick-outs and go man-to-man for every Dublin restart.

“I think man-to-man on their kick-outs, and then filter back. But with Cluxton’s kicking, it’s very, very accurate, so you can’t give your man five or six yards. You need to close in on that, especially around the middle of the field, and not allow him to kick over the zones to deeper areas.”

Dangers lurk in every corner of Croke Park for a Tyrone team bidding to inflict a first championship defeat on Dublin since 2014.

Such is the quality of their players that any one of Jim Gavin’s men is capable of making a match-winning play, and each opponent will have to be given detailed and special attention.

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