Time to start thinking about Tyrone

Okay, it’s Tuesday so it’s definitely time to turn our gaze towards our next assignment in this National League Division One campaign. This comes in the form of a Round 6 meeting with Tyrone on Saturday evening at Healy Park in Omagh. Our renewal of acquaintances with our All-Ireland conquerors throws in at 5.45pm that evening, the match is being shown live on RTÉ2 and Maurice Deegan from Laois is the ref.

Because we met them as recently as last September, there’s no need to go back over what they were up to in 2021 as I did a piece on all that prior to last year’s All-Ireland final. That’s here.

Looking back at that piece, the most salient point to note is perhaps the one relating to our League meetings, where Tyrone hold a narrow advantage over us, having won 12 times to our 11. A further six League meetings between us have ended in draws.

What’s more relevant from past meetings between us, however, is what’s occurred the last two times we’ve played each other because this shows we now have significant beef with the O’Neill County. The most recent time we met them in the League – at MacHale Park in October 2020 – they relegated us. And nobody needs any reminding about what occurred the last time we met in the Championship.

All of which means we’ll head to Healy Park the next evening with a significant score to settle. They, of course, will be able to point to our good recent record against them at the venue, where we’ve won the last two times we played there, to whet their appetite for a win this time out. That and their dire need of a win, in light of their very real relegation concerns.

Those worries stem directly from their underwhelming Division One campaign so far this year. It’s one in which they’ve won once, drawn once and lost three times.

The draw came in the opening round on the same afternoon that we salvaged that late, late stalemate against Donegal at Markievicz Park. It was wet and windy in Sligo that day and up the road in Omagh it was no better, which helps explain the final score of nine points apiece in Tyrone’s match against Monaghan. Conor McManus bagged the final score of the day to draw the Farneymen level but they missed a late opportunity to bag the winner against the All-Ireland champions.

Photo: RTÉ

Tyrone’s first defeat of the year came in the next round. Armagh beat them by two clear goals at the Athletic Grounds, winning by 2-14 to 0-14, but that one is best remembered for the flurry of red cards dished out close to the end by ref David Gough, following a protracted brawl involving most of the two teams. What was noteworthy about the punishment meted out by the Meath ref was that four Tyrone players saw red while only one Armagh player did.

Tyrone failed to overturn any of those red cards and so they were severely weakened when facing Kildare at Omagh in Round 3. The Lilies should have beaten them too and led by four points at half-time but they spurned several glorious scoring chances in the second half, including a gilt-edged goal opportunity for Daniel Flynn just before the end, as Tyrone – who bagged two second half goals – somehow eked out a 2-7 to 0-12 win.

Two defeats followed for the Red Hands, though, as Donegal, out of sorts early on, got the better of them at Ballybofey in Round 4, winning by 2-10 to 0-12. Last Sunday, back at Healy Park, Tyrone lost for the second successive time as Dublin finally got off the mark in this year’s League, beating the home team at their ease by 0-13 to 0-8.

This means that Tyrone head into the weekend in serious relegation trouble. Not only do they have to get a result against us, they then have to travel to Kerry in the final round and while one win from those two games might be enough to save them, it might well not.

From our perspective, while we’d dearly love to return the favour from late 2020 by relegating them on Saturday evening, a win for us wouldn’t quite do that but it would certainly push them right to the edge of the precipice. It would also leave them at the tender mercies of the Kerrymen who would, no doubt, take considerable glee in finishing the job for us in Round 7.

Aside from revenge, our aim will obviously be to get back on the horse after our narrow loss down in Tralee last Saturday night. A win for us, combined with a victory by Kerry over Armagh, would see us both in the League decider with a match to spare, which isn’t an outcome many of us would have predicted back in late January.

Then again, many – my poor deluded self among them – couldn’t see how we were going to lose to the O’Neill County last September so maybe it’s as well to pipe down ahead of Saturday about our likely place in the League final. Instead, we’d do well to concentrate on the task facing us at Healy Park.

And on that topic, let’s bring this one to an end with our usual straw poll on our prospects for the match facing us. So, how do you reckon we’ll do against Tyrone on Saturday evening? Time to vote on that.

How will we do against Tyrone?

  • Win (67%, 363 Votes)
  • Lose (25%, 136 Votes)
  • Draw (8%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 541

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27 thoughts on “Time to start thinking about Tyrone

  1. I think it would be great if nobody bothered to turn up and watch the match, or any matches, until the expenses issue is resolved. Without players we don’t have any games and without players the GAA doesn’t make money.

  2. Does anyone know if Cillian or Jason Doherty will be back before the end of the league ? Was there an injury update in the Mayo News this week ?

  3. @MayoMayo. Do you not think that we should wait for the Player’s or the GPA to call for a ‘Boycott’ before Posters call for one?.. I don’t have a very strong opinion on either side of the argument. However we keep hearing about the Amateur Status of the GAA . I wonder if that repeated statement is exactly true!… It is possibly true for some inter county teams, or individual player’s or maybe manager’s. But then again, for others, even Club player’s or club’s or club manager’s, I wonder if that might not be 100 % true either?.. Certainly for the top Inter County Team’s competing for Sam Maguire, there is absolutely nothing amateur about the efforts, or sacrifices player’s, back room team’s or manager’s are making for years. So it’s definitely not a black and white issue.

  4. Will be fascinating, i.e. Tyrone absolutely need a win to fight for Div1 survival. And the way Mayo approach it should tell us a lot about how much they actually want to make it to a league final. If we’re up for it we should have enough to beat them. But I wouldn’t put money on it.

  5. I would very much like a Mayo win here purely to get our own back on the bould Tyrone men and to lay down a strong marker for later in the year.
    I’d like us to make it our business to get the win, no more about it. We might have been outfoxed last September but we’re no eejits (not really anyway, if you don’t count the usual madness) and we’re not going to get out-thought a second time.

  6. It will be a blue sky day so interesting to see how that affects the play. Complete contrast to Tralee. Could still be a cagey affair. Can’t wait.

  7. Hope we go out to win. The lack of reliable personnel in the forward line is still a massive concern and will be going into championship. Would be nice to know how close or far Cillian and Jason are.

  8. I actully think relegation had a big say in our loss in last years final.
    We hadn’t played top opposition and arrived in the final having played a host of second division opposition Galway who were Divison 2 quality and a troubled Dublin.
    Not ideal preparation.I think we will win on Saturday

  9. Haha bit harsh on Galway ^^

    They’re strolling through div 2, definitely way too good for it

    We lost to tyrone down to similar reasons as Saturday really – too predictable in our build up play, not enough forwards standing up and too many errors.. age old issues not just ones that surfaced last year

    It’s as simple as that, no matter how much we try to search for deeper reasons

    As for Saturday, Tyrone need the win more than we do and in league football that can often be enough to carry teams over the line.. I’d settle for more adventurous attacking, and more direct and speedier build up play to show we’re learning something from each game.. if we carry on as is our intensity will win us plenty but we’ll ultimately fall short again by the latter stages

  10. Tyrone have shown glimpses of what won them the All Ireland but then on the other hand look like a team that’s never played together before. Against Dublin in the first half it was probably one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen but then in second half kept Dublin to 2 points. Similar against Donegal, first 30/35 minutes they were very good and ya think they turned a corner but then in second half just implode. I believe they came back training later than others but we are now 5 games into the league so all teams should be up to fitness. Is there something not right in the camp or just the high from winning the All Ireland has not been gotten over yet. I remember Donegal won in 12 and then got relegated next year.

  11. Swallow swoops – agree this one needs to be won. It was the one fixture on the list I had as a must win. This is more a test for Horan than the players i.e. he must come up with a game plan to overcome their style. This will bode well for confidence later in the year and give the players a little satisfaction to no doubt. I’m not too bothered what happens after this game – win here and move onto Galway !

  12. This will be an ideal chance for JH to show that he has absorbed the lessons of last September, i.e. don’t leave your full back line exposed to fast ball and avoid turning over the ball cheaply. I would also add to not miss several easy scoring chances from in front of the posts, but that one’s more on the players.

    I watched the Tyrone v. Dublin game in full last weekend and one noticeable thing was that after their poor first half showing, the Red Hands came out for the second period and systematically fouled the Dublin backs and started scuffles all over the park, almost like it was a pre-ordained tactic. Something to be wary of next weekend.

    One also wonders why Tyrone had so many recent retirees, kinda like us in 2021.

    Any word on any of the injury list players? I would be worried about Cillian in particular being ready for championship if he’s not named in the squad for this weekend’s match.

  13. This is a must win for Tyrone if they are to stay up , so they will pull and drag and hit off ball all through the game. Its also nearly a must win for Mayo following the poor showing in the final last year and to show that they wont be bullied and lie down when its put up to them .

    On the GPA thing, I think getting full expenses for 4 sessions/games per week is enough . This should be enforced so that all teams are on the same rules. Think this has a lot to do with Managers etc getting paid per session and greed by them coming into play.

  14. @Leantimes no, I didn’t think that at all, I just strongly support players being reimbursed for costs they have incurred. I don’t believe they are looking for anything out of the ordinary, merely reimbursement of costs they have incurred representing Mayo.

    Anyway, this a thread about the Tyrone game so maybe I shouldn’t have posted in here at all and I’ll avoid the subject now unless WJ at some stage chooses to have a separate piece on the matter.

  15. I wouldn’t be that worried if Cillian is not named for Sunday. That Omagh pitch is very heavy and would not be suited to someone coming back from injury. Even if he is ready, there is a much stronger case for playing him against Kildare the following week – especially if we qualify for the League final – as that would give him a run in Croker before Galway.
    On the team selection, I got the impression that Aido and Stephen were both playing the holding role behind centrefield in the first half last week. There was really only need for one of them to do it and that was corrected at half time. It makes me think that Stephen starting and Aidan coming on in the second half is the way to go, maybe moving Stephen back to full back, pushing Oisin to No 6 and taking off a half forward. Diarmuid has played well at No 11 up to now and will continue to play his best football if he is left there. I hope his withdrawal late on Saturday was not serious as he has become the lynchpin of the half forward line. In any case, the other half forwards (Conor Loftus, Bryan, Fionn) need to be able to step into that playmaker role if Diarmuid gets injured. As someone said on an earlier thread, there is a real danger that other teams will look at stopping Mayo by stopping Ryan. For that reason, we need Fergal, Jason, and Aidan Orme as other scoring options while we are waiting for Cillian to come back.

  16. I honestly don’t believe we will see Cillian in the league, if he comes on as a sub against Galway that would be a bonus. He has had a serious injury and sometimes there are little setbacks and the body doesnt heal as fast as youd like sometime, id give him lots of time and give him time to get himself right. no point playing someone thats not fully fit/carrying an injury in fairness to Dr Moffatt and Mayo’s medical team they will get him right but it might take a little more time.

  17. Rewatched the game last night and I thought that defensively lee Keegan had a poor game. He got caught a few times where he wasn’t tight enough to his man, the goal being a good example. He was decent on the ball though, without being spectacular.

    I’ll probably be lynched for saying but lee might not be in our best 6 defenders atm and if I was looking at fitting one of our backs into the team further I would be lee right now. Tyrone might actually be a good team to try this out against, they’ve some key players in their half back line.

    I’d be looking at starting Hession and Harrison in the full back instead of Keegan and o’hora. Padraig got a bit of a roasting from brosnan as well. I’d be doing this with an eye on starting o’hora and mcbrien against Kildare, and having an older head paired with a young gun in both games

  18. I was also quite impressed with Orme and Carney. Physically they both held up very well. Both are good strong lads. If both continue as they’re going, I’d have no concerns about starting them come championship. Obviously they’re young and will make mistakes but they don’t look out of place at this level.

    With that said though, we are lacking goals ATM and I would like to have Cillian or Doherty back in to help there, and unfortunately that might mean one or both of the young lads miss out

  19. After watching Sundays game against the Dubs my main concern is the antics and hard hits and lazy fouls that were made by a team that seem intent on mma rather than gaa. I fear for some out our younger lads and the injuries we may suffer. Lets face it – one more major injury and any hopes of even coming out of connaught are dashed. People will say ah but Cillian is coming back and I feel that our method of play has moved on a lot in a year and one player coming back will not be good enough to get us through the championship. Kerry was a real test and I just hope they don’t become the new monkey on our backs but we reverted back to some awful decision making etc and poor shooting. Goals win games and if we cant take them then we are going nowhere. Saturday will be a test too in its own way. I feel the next two matches will show exactly where we are. April is fast approaching – the real work starts then.

  20. Folks, do ye think that Tyrone are holding off a bit in their training and fitness with the aim of peaking later to defend their AI title?
    It just seems that way to me with the fact they are down towards the bottom of the League table.
    I think the references to hefty, sturdy tactics above – fouling, getting into pushing and shoving – could be a sign of not being up to par on match fitness. I do agree that it’s something we need to be wary of next week.
    For me their physical strength, pace and wily management are their trump cards. They also have some very accurate sharpshooters.
    I also note that their midfielder Kilpatrick is mobile and came in for a disallowed goal last week.

  21. They conceded 6 goals to Kerry last year (prompting one of the all time great quotes from Peter Keane) and were hockeyed out the door altogether in Tuam in 2020 (before turning around and beating Dublin in the next match)

    They’ve always been a bit hit and miss in the league, yet you’d have to go back to 2014 (discounting the fairly farcical 2020 edition) to find a year they truly underachived in championship – or in other words were knocked out by anyone outside Dublin, Kerry or Mayo

  22. @Proud Mayo Supporter: It could also be that the All-Ireland celebrations, bringing the cup round the schools, holidays etc. cost them a bit of time in pre-season. Jim McGuinness mentioned the same factor when Donegal were defending their All-Ireland almost a decade ago. It’s not something that has come into play with us for a long time, sadly.

  23. Will not make the game on Saturday so ticket available if anyone needs a spare.

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