GAA Football

Experience will go out the window against Armagh says Tyrone coach Dermot Carlin

Darragh Canavan is expected to play a big part for Tyrone in this year's Ulster U20 Championship campaign Picture by Philip Walsh
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Ulster U20 FC quarter-final: Armagh v Tyrone (Today, Athletic Grounds, 1pm)

THE fact that Tyrone have a core of star players from last year’s Ulster Championship success may seem like an advantage to most observers, but Dermot Carlin insists experience will go out the window once the ball is thrown in at the Athletic Grounds today.

The Red Hand U20s have the likes of Joe Oguz, Darragh Canavan and Tiernán Quinn, who played key parts in last year’s Ulster final hammering of Derry, still on their panel. When they are added to the defensive nous brought by captain Antoin Fox and the attacking flair of Ethan Jordan you have the nucleus of a team who must be fancied to go all the way to provincial glory again this year.

However, Killyclogher man Carlin, who is working as Paul Devlin’s assistant on the U20 squad, insists the perils of playing football in the stormy days of February nullify a lot of this experience and talent. While this game was axed along with the rest of the quarter-final schedule last weekend, it will go ahead in what are expected to be wet and windy conditions in Armagh at lunchtime today.

“We’ve five or six from last year’s panel. You’ve that experience there of boys that have been there and done it which will hopefully stand us in good stead,” Carlin said.

“But if the weather is like this tomorrow again, experience doesn’t mean so much on a wet, muddy pitch. It’s all about who wants it most, experience will go out the window. It’ll be down to that.

“Last weekend, we were at Armagh, we were ready to go but unfortunately the pitch wasn’t playable but the good thing was we were able to get back to Garvaghey and get a session done there anyway.

“As soon as we walked out looked at it, we knew it wasn’t going to be on. They [the players] have to able to adapt; if it’s called off, it’s called off. They get themselves ready for the following week, which hopefully they are.”

While Carlin admitted that the Tyrone coaching team have planned ahead for a number of Armagh players who they expect to be particularly dangerous, he was reluctant to let the cat out of the bag in terms of names.

“There is a few but I’ll keep that to myself maybe,” the All-Ireland SFC winner added.

“On any team, there’s three or four, maybe more, that you need to pin down and try to negate and hopefully we can have more of an influence than they do. I’m sure they’ll be doing the same on us, they’ll be picking out three or four key men that they will want to curtail and curb the influence of, but we’ll be hoping that we can overcome that and step up.

“Armagh are a bit of an unknown quantity. Obviously, we know names of people who are playing for colleges and stuff like that and we know who our own boys have come up against. But we haven’t seen them play and they haven’t seen us play – because there’s that much of a turnaround in teams at underage level it’s hard to compare.

“We’ll see enough of them on Saturday. It’ll be about how we adapt, how we pick up things and how we move forward and seeing what’s in front of us.”

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GAA Football