Sunday 25 August 2019

'Tyrone and Dublin could be already through when they meet' - Canavan on why Rossies win vital to keep group alive

Cathal McShane of Tyrone in action against Padraig Faulkner of Cavan
Cathal McShane of Tyrone in action against Padraig Faulkner of Cavan

Tony Considine

It’s been an up and down campaign for Tyrone this season but Peter Canavan believes that his native county are coming into form at just the right time ahead of their Super 8s opener against Roscommon.

Last season’s beaten finalists were very much second best in their Ulster SFC semi-final defeat to Donegal but have rediscovered their mojo in the qualifiers with last weekend’s 1-20 to 0-7 victory over Cavan their best performance so far.

"There’s a healthy competition within the squad with a number of men champing at the bit to get on," Canavan told The Throw-in , Independent.ie's GAA podcast, in association with Bord Gais Energy. 

"They’re very assured and knew exactly what the style of play was on Saturday. Unlike the Donegal game, they were happy to let Cavan hit the ball short and retreat and try and turn them over on the halfway line.   

"The style of play is very clear, the players seem to be comfortable with it. As the game opens up, they’re not afraid to kick it.

"In Cathal McShane, they have a brilliant target man. Be it high or low, he’ll make a fair attempt to win it and the ball is sticking to him. He’s certainly brought another dimension to their style of play and as a team, they’re very well set up."

In addition to the final, the Red-Hand men faced off against Dublin in the group stages last year with the eventual champions prevailing by three points in a tight Omagh tussle during gameweek two.

But with this season’s rematch not taking place until the final week, Canavan thinks a positive start for Tyrone could render the outcome of that last game moot, with a higher prospect of drama in the other side of the draw.

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"I fancy their chances, this Saturday night against Roscommon is a big game and if they can win that then Group 2 could see the possibility of the last games being dead rubbers.

"Tyrone and Dublin could be already through when they meet each other with Roscommon and Cork having nothing to play for," he explained.

"Group 1 on the other hand I think will go down to the wire. Kerry, Donegal and Mayo are all capable of beating each other. There are some great games in that group. 

"But from a Tyrone point of view, I’ll be confident they’ll make an All-Ireland semi but they’ll need to get off to a good start this Saturday."

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