GAA Football

Tyrone will balance attacking and defending, says Dooher

The new joint Tyrone senior football management, Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher (right).
Picture by Hugh Russell
Francis Mooney

Brian Dooher has revealed his vision of a new age of attacking football from a Tyrone team stinging from persistent criticism of its perceived negativity.

Dooher and Feargal Logan will engage with their squad later this month for the first time since taking over from treble All-Ireland winner Mickey Harte.

The Red Hands are blessed with a depth of attacking talent that most counties will envy in 2021, and Dooher declared that those assets will be utilised to the best effect.

But he also insisted that the offensive approach will be tempered by a desire to remain faithful to the essential principles of defensive solidity.

"We are very lucky to have that talent, and there's no point in having talent and not using it," he said.

"We will be using it to the best of their ability, and in the best place where they should be."

Tyrone's riches amount to a dozen top class forwards, the firepower cranked up by the arrival of former Aussie Rules star Conor McKenna, the return of Lee Brennan and Connor McAliskey, along with former Allstar full-forward Cathal McShane's recovery from injury.

"Those boys are up there, they're dangerous forwards and they need the ball.

"Hopefully we'll get enough ball in to them to get the scores."

Caution will not be thrown to the wind, however, and there will also be an emphasis on keeping things tight at the back.

It's a collaborative approach that requires buy-in from all fifteen team members.

"It will be a whole team effort at the same time.

"It's not about going out and playing with no regard to defensive football. It's about getting a balance.

"We will be expecting our players when we haven't got the ball all to be defending.

"You look at any good team out there that has been successful, the defence starts at fifteen.

"Dublin is a typical example of that. Dublin's success isn't built just on their free-scoring, it's built on their workrate off the ball, particularly from the forwards, and that goes unnoticed a bit.

"In any good team the workrate across the field is important, and the forwards set the tone for the workrate.

"It's important to get that back in to our football again.

"In Tyrone football it probably hasn't been there, it's been a bit lacking this last while, that pressure coming from the forward line.

"I'm not being critical, but I think they could do better in that regard, I think there's more in them."

The new managers also intend to create an environment that offers opportunity and encourages expression, enabling lesser known names and newcomers to emerge and make a name for themselves.

"When you have those good forwards, you free up space for other people.

"You'd like to see other people that might not have been the marquee names appearing out of the woodwork, people who have been good footballers all along, and now they will get the opportunity to develop and flourish.

"That's what I want to see, other boys standing up apart from the well known boys."

The process will contribute to a development of depth, and of a squad laden with players capable of coming off the bench and making a game-changing, match-winning contribution in the latter stages of a tight tie.

"The Tyrone teams that I was on were successful, and you look at why we were successful. We had three or four boys on the bench that were probably better than the boys that were on the team, or every bit as good.

"Whenever you have that competition on the bench, that will feed through into training every day, it will seep through into a match.

"It raises everybody's standards, there's no comfort zone any more.

"It's about creating the environment for that, that competitive environment."

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GAA Football