Friday 26 April 2019

Omagh is no fortress for Tyrone and Dublin have only lost three times on the road since 2013

Conor McKeon

JIM Gavin almost inadvertently raised a chuckle from the other occupants of the GAA media centre on Saturday night when he said “we’ve always got a warm welcome when we’ve gone to Omagh”.

The Dublin manager meant it in a genuine way, of course, reflective of the fact that Healy Park has gradually ceased to represent a destination of dread for visiting teams.

That might have something to do with the fact that Tyrone have few of the snarling, fire-breathing defenders that populated their team in the glory era of the last decade.

And that the seething tension between the counties that spawned the ‘Battle of Omagh’ in 2006 have long since calmed.

Still, Dublin have received a hostile reception going away from home on occasion in the recent past.

It is only six years since the Dublin players were left clicking their heels by the roadside in Newry several hours after their League game with Down, waiting the Sunday afternoon match traffic to subside after their team bus was not permitted access to Páirc Esler and instead, had to find on-street parking down the narrow road to the side of the ground.

Earlier, they were given no access to the pitch to warm-up and then, having been beaten, Dublin arrived back to the dressing-room to discover that there was no hot water in the showers.

Yet for all the furore about the advantages enjoyed by Dublin’s unofficial residency in Croke Park, the statistics don’t bear any pattern.

In 22 League and Championship matches they have played outside Dublin under Jim Gavin, his team have won 15 and lost just three; one each in Fitzgerald Stadium, Páirc Uí Rinn and Celtic Park. Their last away loss came in February 2015 and in Dublin’s last three visits to Healy Park, they have won two and drawn one of those matches.

“In the first few years I played with the Tyrone seniors, Healy Park was always a complete fortress for us,” noted Seán Cavanagh a couple of years back.

“We have had indifferent form at home since then and possibly we are better away from home.”

And not only were Tyrone beaten by Monaghan there in the Ulster SFC in May, they were outnumbered in the stand and on the terraces by visiting supporters.

In the same span of time, Mickey Harte’s team have won exactly half of their 26 games in Omagh, losing nine and drawing four, suggesting somewhat ironically that the team finally granted a home tie against Dublin may not actually see it as an advantage.

HOW DUBS’ HAVE FARED OUTSIDE CROKER SINCE 2013

2018 LEINSTER SFC

May 27, Portlaoise: Dublin 4-25 Wicklow 1-11 (W)

2018 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 3, Omagh: Tyrone 1-11 Dublin 2-13 (W)

Feb 24, Castlebar: Mayo 0-12 Dublin 2-10 (W)

Mar 18, Salthill: Galway 0-13 Dublin 0-13 (D)

2017 LEINSTER SFC

Jun 3, Portlaoise: Dublin 0-19 Carlow 0-7 (W)

2017 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 5, Breffni Park: Cavan 0-11 Dublin 0-18 (W)

Feb 26, Ballybofey: Donegal 2-5 Dublin 1-8 (D)

Mar 18, Austin Stack Park, Tralee: Kerry 0-13 Dublin 0-13 (D)

Apr 2, Clones: Monaghan 1-15 Dublin 2-15 (W)

2016 LEINSTER SFC

June 4, Nowlan Park: Dublin 2-21 Laois 2-10 (W)

2016 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 6, Mac Hale Park, Castlebar: Mayo 0-7 Dublin 0-9 (W)

Mar 12, Páirc Esler, Newry: Down 1-7 Dublin 1-15 (W)

Apr 3, *Carrick-On-Shannon: Roscommon 1-12 Dublin 1-13 (W)

2015 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 1, Páirc Uí Rinn: Cork 1-15 Dublin 0-16 (L)

Mar 1, Killarney: Kerry 0-15 Dublin 1-10 (L)

Mar 14, Castlebar: Mayo 0-10 Dublin 2-18 (W)

Apr 5, Clones: Monaghan 1-11 Dublin 1-22 (W)

2014 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 9, Mullingar: Westmeath 1-7 Dublin 0-14 (W)

Mar 16, Celtic Park: Derry 1-16 Dublin 0-13 (L)

Apr 6, Omagh: Tyrone 1-15 Dublin 3-10 (W)

2013 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 10, Killarney: Kerry 0-4 Dublin 1-11 (W)

Apr 7, Ballybofey: Donegal 1-10 Dublin 0-13 (D)

* Fixture was moved from Hyde Park

PLAYED 22 W15 D4 L3

TYRONE’S RECORD IN OMAGH

2018 ULSTER SFC

May 20: Tyrone 1-16 Monaghan 1-18 (L)

2018 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 3: Tyrone 1-11 Dublin 2-13 (L)

Mar 10: Tyrone 2-13 Donegal 1-10 (W)

Mar 25: Tyrone 1-16 Kerry 0-14 (W)

2017 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 5: Tyrone 0-18 Roscommon 1-9 (W)

Mar 12: Tyrone 0-19 Cavan 1-9 (W)

Mar 4: Tyrone 0-14 Monaghan 0-10 (W)

Mar 26: Tyrone 0-12 Mayo 1-10 (L)

2016 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 2

Jan 31: Tyrone 0-10 Cavan 0-8 (W)

Mar 5: Tyrone 2-15 Derry 0-12 (W)

Mar 26: Tyrone 0-13 Armagh 1-10 (D)

2015 ALL-IRELAND SFC

Jun 28: Tyrone 1-14 Limerick 0-8 (W)

Jul 11: Tyrone 1-10 Meath 0-11 (W)

2015 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Jan 31: Tyrone 0-9 Monaghan 1-13 (L)

Feb 28: Tyrone 0-11 Derry 1-8 (D)

Mar 3: Tyrone 2-10 Cork 0-17 (L)

Apr 5: Tyrone 0-17 Kerry 1-14 (D)

2014 ULSTER SFC

May 18: Tyrone 2-11 Down 3-8 (D)

2014 ALL-IRELAND SFC

June 28: Tyrone 2-21 Louth 0-10 (W)

July 13: Tyrone 0-10 Armagh 0-13 (L)

2014 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Feb 9: Tyrone 2-15 Mayo 0-15 (W)

May 16: Tyrone 2-23 Westmeath 1-12 (W)

Apr 6: Tyrone 1-15 Dublin 3-10 (L)

2013 ALLIANZ LEAGUE DIVISION 1

Mar 3: Tyrone 1-13 Donegal 0-12 (W)

Mar 10: Tyrone 0-8 Cork 0-14 (L)

Apr 7: Tyrone 2-12 Kerry 1-16 (L)

PLAYED 26 W13 D4 L9

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