GAA Football

Tyrone now face "big test of character" away to Roscommon, says joint-boss Brian Dooher

Tyrone's Brian Dooher (right), with joint-manager Feargal Logan, admits the Red Hands face a test of character in Roscommon this Sunday. Pic Philip Walsh

TYRONE joint-manager Brian Dooher acknowledges that his team faces "a big test of character" away to Roscommon this Sunday after another devastating defeat by Derry.

It may have been 'only the McKenna Cup' but to be blown away against a strong wind by the Oak Leafers, outscored by 3-4 to 0-1 after drawing level early in the second half, left the Red Hands red-faced.

Tyrone will have to play much better in Hyde Park this Sunday as the Division Two champions aim to begin their return to the top flight with a home victory, believes Dooher:

"It's going to be a big test of character, how we react to that. We'll be really up against it in Roscommon…

"You learn a lot from defeats, and I think we'll learn a lot from that… We have a lot to put right for next week in a very short time-frame, but you know what, that's the challenge that's in front of us.

"[After Sunday] we'll know where we are, how we do, but we have a lot of work to do this week, there's no point saying otherwise."

Dooher is a man who does forensic analysis of Tyrone's matches, but even before watching that 'video nasty' he had clear ideas of the failings that led to their demise against Derry in the Athletic Grounds on Saturday night.

The Oak Leafers rattled in three goals in the second half, starting with a penalty converted as the game entered the final quarter, and Dooher saw that Tyrone could not cope with Derry's pace and movement:

"We just didn't track runners, that's the long and the short of it. we let the easy overlap go, and we were chasing it.

"A bit of responsibility, and more work-rate, but we'll get a look at the video. You see more things then, you think you know what happened there, but you don't always in the intensity of the match.

"Break ball, we missed a few things, and they got away. We just seemed to be reacting to a lot of stuff and chasing it.

"And once you're chasing something, you're always leaving yourself exposed, leaving spaces and things like that, and we were well punished for it. and Derry were clinical."

Indeed Dooher gave the Ulster Champions due credit for their display, but criticised the Red Hands' response to their opponents' efforts:

"Derry were very impressive… All credit to them, they worked really hard, they worked hard for each other, and they dominated that game, especially in the last 20 minutes…

"We were expecting a tough battle, we knew what Derry were going to bring, but it's disappointing. We worked really hard to get level, and we didn't push on whenever we really were in the driving seat, and that's probably the disappointing thing of it.

"We never got the momentum back again, and the black card [for centre half-back Michael McKernan on the hour mark] didn't help."

With typical honesty, the Clann na nGael clubman didn't clutch at any straws, such as Tyrone's decent start to the game against the win:

"They missed a fair bit too, the two goal chances, Benny [Gallen] made two good saves.

"We weren't handling the counter-attack, we didn't cope well once we got turned over, didn't get the ball dead, and they really punished us. They probably could have punished us more in the first half, if truth be told."

Tyrone were missing some important players due to university commitments, including the Canavan brothers Darragh and Ruairi, but Dooher was making no excuses, especially as Derry had major men out too, including captains past and present, Chrissy McKaigue and Conor Glass.

In fact, Dooher expressed confidence in his panel, commenting: "The boys that we have are the boys that deserve to start, they have trained really hard. They're still quality players.

"We need to get back on track again. we can say that we haven't got this, that and whoever, but we have what we have, and I still think it's good enough. We just have to get our act together and get down to hard work, basically."

GAA Football