GAA Football

Tyrone determined to seize the day against Mayo, says Brian Dooher

The joint Tyrone management, Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher, at their official unveiling last year. Picture by Hugh Russell

BRIAN Dooher insists he hadn't thought of managing Tyrone seniors, never mind reaching an All-Ireland Final - but now they're in it they're determined to win it.

"I probably didn't imagine that I'd be managing 10 months ago, so I didn't, but that's just the way things happen," said the former captain turned joint-boss.

"We didn't imagine anything. I suppose everyone wants to do the best that they can, they want to get to an All-Ireland Final but you never think about that at the time, you're thinking about the next game and the next one after that."

The next game is now Saturday's decider against Mayo. Although outsiders might feel Tyrone should be content with their progress this year, winning Ulster and shocking Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final, Dooher and fellow joint-boss Feargal Logan aren't settling for that:

"I think anyone playing football...you don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today, you know? I don't think anybody would be any different. Who knows what's around the corner?

"Just live in the now, live in the moment and do the best we can with what we have as we have it. That's what we've done. We've taken every game at a time and try to do the best we can, come to training every night, do the best we can and see where that takes you."

Tyrone's management is the major difference from recent years but Dooher insists that most of the credit must go to the players on the pitch.

The Red Hands are close to achieving the same 'first season bounce' that legendary leader Mickey Harte brought in his first campaign of 2003 but Dooher is cautious about talking up their influence in several respects:

"I suppose time will tell. People might say that, write about it, who knows? I suppose you come in and there is maybe a freshness, something different, I don't know. When Mickey [Harte] came into us in 2003 it worked for us.

"I think it's the players, maybe they realised they have a point to prove again, and maybe they're out to prove a point to everybody. They want to get on the team, there's a whole freshness from that perspective, maybe.

"The boys have been fairly good, they've responded well to our training, coaches have come in, Joey [McMahon], Collie [Holmes], and Pete [Donnelly], and training's good, they're enjoying it. Hopefully we can take another step."

Dooher points out, though, that even all those talented coaches have found circumstances difficult in this year's compacted schedule:

"You don't have time and especially this year, you definitely haven't had much time to think further ahead because games have been every couple of weeks. It's good from a player point of view because there's less training probably, but it does create its own challenges from a preparation point of view."

It's harder to exert influence during games too, after the ending of the 'runner' role, so he welcomes the continuation of water breaks:

"We're glad of them because you've no 'Maor Foirne' role, so you need to have something. It's a long time to go without talking to anybody. You can't get any messages in any more, you can't get any changes really made. It [water break] gives you a chance.

"It can work for and against you. Some days you've a bit of momentum going into it and you lose that, some days you need that break because you're getting cleaned out somewhere. It's probably six of one and half a dozen of the other. Definitely you need something because it's a long time to go, especially in our first year that's actually a bigger issue."

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