As the debate continues to rage across Tyrone following the shattering defeat to Dublin on Sunday, former county stars Brian McGuigan and Damien O’Hagan have suggested that question marks hang over the performance and the way ahead for the team.
McGuigan, who won three All-Ireland medals during his career, has said that it should be up to manager Mickey Harte to decide when he exits the stage. However he also stated that there needs to be a clearly defined long-term plan for the Tyrone senior team.
O’Hagan, who was part of the first Tyrone team to reach an All Ireland SFC final in 1986, suggested that the disappointment wasn’t in losing to a great Dublin team, rather it was the manner of the defeat. He complained that the Ulster champions failed to put up a battle and appeared ‘to go to Croke Park to defend a defeat’.
Ardboe club manager McGuigan questioned what future direction Tyrone should take.
“ If Tyrone had lost by a few points, even five or six, you could probably say ‘we haven’t that far to go’ but now you can see, they’re a long way behind. Tyrone players didn’t know what to do and Dublin were moving the ball that quick they didn’t even make contact with them.
“At the minute Tyrone seem very far away but if you were putting a list of 32 counties in Ireland, we are still probably third or fourth; so where is everyone else going? A year is a long time in football though and things can change.
“In 2002 when we had a demoralising defeat to Sligo we seemed as far away as ever but the following year we won the All-Ireland title.”
Regarding the future, McGuigan suggested that if Harte stays on as manager, which he has indicated is his desire, there needs to be a long-term plan, rather than renewing his time in charge, year by year.
“If Mickey continues the way he wants to play they are still going to be up there and get to All Ireland semi-finals but will they go that next step and beat a Dublin or Kerry or Mayo? I think Mickey should see it through but Tyrone need to find out what his plans are.
You have that U17 team coming through but you have to look how far down the line does Mickey want to stay. Its totally up in the air, year to year and then another year. We need to look at three or four years down the line.”
Damian O’Hagan said he was ‘hugely disappointed’ with the manner of the defeat on Sunday.
“Going into Croke Park I felt that we faced a massive task to beat Dublin and talking to former Tyrone players they couldn’t see where we were going to win this game but we all thought they would put up some kind of a battle,” he said.
“I was so disappointed and the question has to be asked whether it was the tactics were wrong or that the players didn’t perform on the day.
“After five minutes it looked like we came to defend a defeat. I felt we didn’t come to do battle and that is very disappointing.”
Posted: 8:10 am September 1, 2017