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The wide angle

RYAN McMENAMIN has a unique take on the reason Tyrone kicked so many wides against Dublin in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final.



Normally noted for their efficiency and economy in possession, Tyrone managed 17 errant kicks at the target, allowing Dublin to build up a head of steam for Bernard Brogan to cut the Red Hand full-back line into ribbons before Eoghan O'Gara's late goal sealed the deal.

McMenamin reckons the source of the Tyrone squanderlust was as much external as internal.

"They tackled like f***," as he put it so bluntly. "We kicked a lot of wides," McMenamin reflects. "We did play well but just our shooting let us down. You're always disappointed when you come away with a defeat. It makes for a good game. It's one of those things.

"People will say we kicked a lot of wides but Dublin, they tackled like f***. They worked really hard.

"People didn't see the amount of pressure they did put on. It's gotten Dublin to where they are now; second favourites for the All-Ireland. So it's going to be hard work."



Drubbing

Hard work is exactly what Tyrone made of Roscommon on Saturday before Seán Cavanagh's timely first goal and an overwhelming second-half performance sent the Connacht finalists away with an 11-point drubbing they scarcely deserved.

McMenamin himself reckons all the talk of Dublin penetrated the player's focus in the build-up to last week's win. "I would say the heads were probably looking at Dublin in that first half," he admitted. "We were lucky Seán came in and pulled us out of it with that goal. That set the foundations but if you said 11 points were in it ... I thought it felt more like three or four.

"It's kind of hard not to think about them. When the draw was made and you saw Dublin, it was hard to think about Roscommon.

"I think we tried our best. But everybody you were chatting to during the week, it was the first thing they said. It was like we were already playing the Dubs. People were saying 'yeah, you will get past Roscommon'. But we had good respect for them going out."

Bar Brian Dooher, no current Tyrone player has been knocking around as long as 'Ricey', yet he is still a trusted front-liner, albeit in a new-ish role at centre-back.

He was, however, replaced at the weekend by Justin McMahon but in Mickey Harte's great scheme of things, such an occurrence is unlikely to cause offence.

"There is a fresh man or an even better man to come on," McMenamin says. "I'm getting old now but I pushed myself to the limit. There is no shame coming off. It's a 20-man game. The boys know that. We have boys on the bench like Mugsy (Owen Mulligan). He came on and he turned the game around and gave something to us at full-forward. We have this week to work hard and get a starting place.

"For the last two games, big Justy McMahon came on for me and when you have a player like Justy pushing you on, it keeps you on your toes."



Combat

On Saturday, he will face Dublin for the fifth time in championship combat and only last summer has he come out on the losing side.

"When you get to this level of football, it's all the same," he says.

"You could have just as easily have gotten Kerry and it would have been just as tough as Dublin. We will not go in as favourites. It's a quarter-final. You can play anybody. I think we're happy with the Dubs. You have to play a big team some time."


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