Sunday 25 February 2018

Fitzmaurice's men could learn from Tyrone defence

Colm Cavanagh Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Cavanagh Photo: Sportsfile newsdesk

Tyrone's defence gave a master-class against Cavan, with Colm Cavanagh phenomenal.

He covered a massive amount of ground, fielding high ball in midfield one minute, back helping set up that defensive screen the next. Kerry could learn a lot from how Tyrone defend in my view. Cavan were simply not going to score a goal yesterday, that much was clear from early in the game.

They were restricted to long-range shooting and, while some of their point-scoring was magnificent, they'd probably have needed a goal to win. And it was never coming.

Connor McAliskey was a class act in attack for Tyrone but, apart from him and Darren McCurry who has to come back, they don't carry a real threat up front in my view. And that will cost them against Division 1 teams.

They haven't really been tested this year on that level so I'm inclined to reserve judgement on Tyrone for now. When they meet Dublin, Mayo, Donegal or Kerry, I'm not sure they'll have enough of a goal threat to win. A good defensive system against could tie Tyrone down, especially one as efficient as Dublin's.

I'm sure Mickey Harte will be working on that because they have an absolutely brilliant defensive system in place now.

And we shouldn't forget how tough they made life for Kerry in last year's All-Ireland semi-final. Harte is a really smart cookie when it comes to tactics and he will know exactly what he wants from his players this year.

The two Cavanaghs were superb yesterday and Cathal McCarron completely snuffed out Seanie Johnston's threat. Apart from the free he kicked, did Seanie touch the ball in that first half?

I'm sure Cavan were disappointed to lose, but I don't doubt they already had one eye on Armagh in the Ulster Championship. They've had a great year, they're up to Division One and they didn't get a hosing by any means. Goals tend to be the difference at this level and, at the end of the day, I'd say Terry Hyland was already in Championship mode heading home.

Definitely a team for the future.

Irish Independent

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