GAA Football

Tyrone will take heart from last year: Joe McMahon

Tyrone face Roscommon in their Super 8s opener this weekend.

IT’S one thing having a plan to beat Dublin and another thing altogether to implement it says former Tyrone star Joe McMahon.

He believes his county will use the first 20 minutes of last year’s All-Ireland final, and their performance against Dublin in Omagh in the Super 8s, as a psychological cushion as they head into the Super 8s.

The Red Hands could have closed the gap to one in stoppage time in Healy Park last August only for Ronan O’Neill to miscue a free, after which Dublin broke down the field to push their winning margin to three.

When the sides met again in Croke Park, Tyrone caught Dublin unawares with a brilliant start that saw them lead 0-5 to 0-1, a gap which ought to have been wider.

“Those are two games that Tyrone will definitely be focussing on before they bring Dublin to Healy Park,” said the Omagh man.

“If Tyrone can play consistently as they did for the first 20 minutes of that final, who knows what could happen.

“I’d imagine [Jim] Gavin’s learnt a lot also. It’s difficult. Dublin are a difficult animal altogether.

“Any team they come up against, they all have a plan of how to break Dublin down but it’s one thing having a plan and another putting it into operation. Tyrone have the weapons there in areas of the pitch, but time will tell.”

McMahon also believes that Harte did the right thing in having Tyrone revert to their counter-attacking gameplan after the defeat to Donegal, but says they will need to mix it with some more expansive play as the summer goes on.

“When you revert back to a system that’s worked well in the past, it’s important in that it settles everybody. They all know the system. It’s nice to have that to fall back on, their plan ‘B’.

“They have the opportunity to play more expansive football with McShane in the full-forward line, but not isolating him. He needs to get a couple of other lads in around him.”

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