Tyrone put on quite the performance at Headquarters against Roscommon last weekend.
With 13 different scores on the day, The Rossies had no answer for Mickey Harte’s relentless machine. They had the pace, power and most importantly, were clinical in front of the posts.
Even though they conceded 2-12 on the day, in early parts of the game their defensive play, their ability to turn the ball over and break at pace was a joy to watch.
Early in the season the media and different pundits were saying that Tyrone are too defensive, but since the Championship has started they have scored 13-106.
That’s an average of 24 points a game, which is really impressive.
If you’re going to play one of the highest scoring teams in the country you have to at least stay in the game as long as possible to give yourself a chance, but Roscommon folded after the break.
In his post-match interview, Kevin McStay mentioned their fans wouldn’t like the team playing defensive tactics.
But, I’m sure if you give them a choice being stuffed out the gate and embarrassed at Croker, or playing 13 behind the ball and staying in the game as long as possible, I know which one I’d pick.
It’s another very harsh lesson for Roscommon.
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Micky Harte will love this latest challenge against Dublin and the players will feel that they let themselves down last year. It would have hit them hard.
But, this is 2018 and a chance to put things right. Tyrone have a massive chance on Saturday night to cement the status of All-Ireland challengers this year, and there’s no bigger game to do it in.
The Tyrone supporters will play a massive part. It needs to be hostile, intimidating and uncomfortable for the All-Ireland champions.
I’ve experienced first-hand how supporters of The Red Hands can be the sixteenth man when the game is in the melting pot.
I believe Tyrone will do this on Saturday night.
We are entitled to get carried away and think “it’s coming home”, but we have to keep our feet on the ground.
Tyrone have played only one Division 1 team in this year’s Championship. The rest have been lower league teams.
When the Dubs come to town it will show if Tyrone are title contenders or this is another season of empty promises.
But, they are peaking at the right time. Micky Harte has given some of his squad players valuable game time. This will be key when they take on the Dubs and Donegal.
Tyrone have been crying out for a target man like Richard Donnelly for so many seasons and he is going to be key for Tyrone at the edge of the square if they are going to qualify. He’ll be relishing the chance to take on the big guns and test himself.
For me I’ve seen enough of Tyrone that tells me that they can come out of this super 8 group and qualify.