Category: Archive

Tyrone trounce favored Dubs, through to semi vs. Wexford

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

But even that scoreline does little to project the indictment this was of Dublin football. History gives a little more insight. It was the Leinster champions biggest championship defeat in 30 years, the 1978 All Ireland final, and the first double-digit beating since the almost identical 3-13 to 1-8 walloping the following year, also against Kerry. In the aftermath it forced Paul Caffrey to step away, the Na Fianna clubman not even entertaining the usual lines about needing time to think it over. He’d been given his death sentence over 70 minutes, no point in hanging around in a cell for a few more days.
“I’m stepping down after four years in charge of Dublin today,” said Caffrey in the immediate aftermath. “The bookies who were quoting them at 3 to 1 were off their heads. But I’d particularly like to thank John Costello who took a chance four years ago by making a phone call to me to see would I come in on board.
“That was a hugely well prepared Dublin team coming into today. We had great hopes but we kicked five wides before we kicked a score. It’s been a crazy year for results and who is to say there won’t be another crazy result or two before it is over. But you don’t win two All Irelands and back it up with under-21 and minor and Sigerson Cup winners out there and all of a sudden people say you are a bad team. That is a very good Tyrone team. It was before they came into Croke Park today and it is as they leave. The same can be said of the Dublin team.”
That is debatable. For all the success he’s brought Dublin football in Leinster, this defeat was played out to a similar season-ending soundtrack of a shocked silence. In fact having taken his side so close to an All Ireland final during his tenure, the county now seem further than ever away from the truly big time. Jason Sherlock and Ciaran Whelan may well follow Caffrey into retirement and what was most evident during the defeat was the complete lack of leadership and abundance of headlessness once Alan Brogan was forced off injured just seven minutes in.
But enough of the dead and buried because there were bright and glorious glimpses of the brilliant too, as the past and the future came together in perfect harmony for Tyrone. Man of the Match Brian Dooher personified the Tyrone of old with his diamond edge, endless running and shards of class, and he personified Tyrone’s play on Saturday as well, refusing to let go of bygone days, kicking three points during the game. Colm McCullough embodied the new and daring with vision and finishing way beyond his years that amounted three points as well. Dublin could handle neither.
Nor could they handle the midfield and the inclusion of Colin Homes was a masterstroke, as he dominated against Ciaran Whelan. It was a similar story for Shane Ryan. Last year he spoke of his admiration for Enda McGinley, dating back to 2005. Here, he had a front row view of another McGinley masterclass. There, the seeds had been sown.
Tyrone were 0-5 to 0-2 through a series of short, sharp jabs up when the first hook landed on 26 minutes. Se_n Cavanagh outpaced and outfought Ross McConnell. He outthought Stephen Cluxton with the finish. That Conal Keaney responded with a goal of his own — the full-forward beating the rash John Devine to a high, looping ball — mattered little. As half-time closed in, the brilliant Tommy McGuigan played a sweet ball into the rampaging Joe McMahon, his finish as good as McGuigan’s assist. Dublin were five down at the break and within minutes of the restart Tyrone killed the game dead with three more points.
The third goal was just another step in a beautiful waltz down the stretch, Davy Harte latching onto a McCullough ball before a twist and a turn and a clever finish. The procession followed. “Brian Dooher said it, one swallow never made a summer,” said Mickey Harte. “You might say in a number of games this year that Tyrone didn’t have the hunger. Now because we have one good result people say it is back. You can’t say that. There were times today, yes, we were hungry for the ball and it worked for us. But we cannot say, yes, we are a hungry side anymore. You are a hungry side when you win an All Ireland. We are not anyway near doing that. We are on our way to doing the best we can. We are in the semi-final. We haven’t been there since ’05. We like that place. We hope we can go further but there is a huge task in front of us if we want to do that.”
Hands up who thinks Tyrone will thrash Wexford on Sunday week. In this summer of lonely swallows, who knows.

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