GAA Football

Jordan not expecting wholesale changes for Tyrone

New Tyrone joint-managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher. Picture by Hugh Russell

EXCITEMENT is abound in Tyrone over what the new managerial pairing of Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher will bring – and while feels the same sense of anticipation, Philip Jordan is not expecting them to make wholesale changes.

The former Red Hand wing-back won three All-Irelands alongside Dooher and says that while the county board's decision not to grant Mickey Harte an extra year surprised him, he was glad the former long-serving boss stood aside “for the good of Tyrone football” once it became clear the process to his reappointment would not be straightforward.

Jordan worked alongside his former playing team-mate Dooher as part of the county's under-21 management team in 2013, after which Feargal Logan took over in as manager.

He and Dooher, along with Peter Canavan, took Tyrone to All-Ireland U21 success in 2015 and had since been touted as the eventual successors to Harte, which eventually came to fruition this winter, with Peter Canavan from that setup replaced by Collie Holmes.

Jordan believes that while there will be tweaks to the who and how, but no major surgery to either the personnel or the style employed by the new management.

“I don't see huge changes, to be honest. In terms of the style of play, Mickey has been judged on how the team played four or five years ago rather than over the last couple of years.

“When they had Cathal McShane at full-forward two seasons ago, it was a very different type of game where they wanted to get the ball in early. Last year things were a bit compromised with Cathal not there.

“Will there be a change in the style of play? Probably not particularly. Tyrone teams tend to play the same, they always have a lot of strong runners, but if we have the men inside to give the ball to, every team will try and maximise that as well.

“In terms of individuals, I don't see huge changes. Naturally there'll always be some turnover but everyone who's good enough to start for Tyrone has been given an opportunity under Mickey.

“Sometimes when you're injured, you become a better player than when you are playing. It's the same for people that aren't on the squad, they become better footballers as a result because people see this great talent they believe can come on and do it.

“Mickey has given everyone the opportunity. Every year there might be three or four new starters, but I don't think there'll be seven or eight new players on this team that we haven't seen in the past.”

The straight knockout championship of 2020 saw Tyrone's campaign end after a single game, a defeat to Donegal which brought the curtain down on Harte's 18-year reign.

Donegal didn't make it out of Ulster after Cavan's shock win in the final, while Mark Keane's late sucker-punch goal for Cork tumbled 2019 finalists Kerry out at the Munster semi-final stage.

It left Dublin with a much clearer path to their sixth consecutive All-Ireland and Jordan believes those early exits might benefit Tyrone and Kerry especially this year.

“I thought Kerry this year had the potential. They came the closest when they got beat in the [2019] final with a very young squad but tactically they got it very, very wrong against Cork.

“Everybody maybe said last year was the best year to beat the Dubs but I think this year is the best opportunity because there's very little rest between the two championship campaigns, and a team like Kerry or Tyrone who had very short county campaigns have a bit of rest to put that freshness behind them.

“Kerry have the forwards that can beat the Dubs, but the challenge for everybody is to stop the Dubs scoring. We've seen nobody really able to do that over the last number of years.

“If you were a betting man you'd put your money on the Dubs and feel pretty secure about it but Kerry are the one team you'd say this year, if my own county wasn't there, you'd love to see them in an All-Ireland final to see how they match up against Dublin.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

GAA Football