Monday 11 December 2017

Tyrone won't be gone for too long

Impressive and all as Dublin's display against Tyrone was, it was hard not to feel a tinge of pity for the losers. There's always something sad about witnessing the demise of a great team and the extent of Dublin's dominance seemed to conclusively prove that Tyrone have reached the end of an era.

The county will be back. Four All-Ireland minor titles in the last decade show there's plenty of talent in the pipeline. But it's hard to imagine the likes of Eoin Mulligan, Brian McGuigan, Kevin Hughes, the McMahons and Conor Gormley being major players again. In truth, Tyrone haven't been very convincing over the past couple of years but we all gave them the benefit of the doubt because of their extraordinary capacity for resurrection.

This time, however, there was simply nothing left in the tank. That late flood of scores against Roscommon was a final flourish rather than an ominous warning.

They leave us with the memory, above all else, of the magical spell in 2005 when they played four classics in a row to win the All-Ireland, producing the kind of sparkling football which should have forever put to rest the idea that they functioned best when preventing the opposition from playing. They might have won another All-Ireland in 2008 but Mickey Harte's team really peaked six years ago.

Their demise underlined the remarkable nature of the current Kerry team, powered as it is by players who were actually on the inter-county scene before the Tyrone stars who looked far too old for the job last Saturday. You wonder if Tomás ó Sé, Tom O'Sullivan and Co watched the way Dublin ran the legs off Tyrone and felt the chill hand of time on their own shoulders. Or if they're telling themselves that as Kerry footballers the ordinary laws of nature don't apply to them.

I'd bet on the latter.

Sunday Indo Sport

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