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Oisín McConville reckons Tyrone are ‘uncomfortable’ with reigning champions tag

Oisín McConville believes Tyrone are uncomfortable with having a target on their backs after winning last year’s All-Ireland Football Championship.

Tyrone’s hopes of claiming back to back All-Ireland titles for the first time in their history took a significant blow on Sunday as they suffered an 11-point defeat at home to Derry.

Although the dream isn’t over for Tyrone with the return of the All-Ireland qualifiers this year, they will need to improve significantly if they want to have any chance of lifting the Sam Maguire again.

Former Armagh footballer Oisín McConville was speaking on the BBC’s Sportsound Extra Time podcast and argued that Tyrone are struggling to deal with being the team that everyone wants to beat.

Peter Canavan Tyrone

Oisín McConville on Tyrone’s abject loss to Derry.

“When you’re the champions you’re there to be got at and I think Tyrone don’t really feel that comfortable in that scenario,” McConville said.

“That’s proved even with the All-Ireland’s they’ve won before in 03, 05 and 08. They were a pale shadow of their former selves in the year following.

“So I think it’s a mindset shift and I think there seemed to be stages this year where everybody said, ‘Well ok, that’s the wake-up call they needed.’ But look, if they needed a proper wake-up call they got it yesterday.

“They have five weeks now and they will improve but as far as yesterday, it was a systems failure first and foremost as to how they went about trying to carve out a win against Derry.

“But I think the most important thing for me was just a lack of energy and they were bossed in their own ground and I think that won’t sit well with them.”

A tough qualifier clash could await the All-Ireland champions.

With the introduction of the Tailteann Cup this year, there is a good chance that Tyrone’s next game in the qualifiers could be against top quality opposition, rather than a lower division team as it usually would have been in years past.

The likes of Mayo and Armagh have also already dropped down into the qualifiers, which means that one of the country’s best sides could very well bow out at an early stage in this year’s All-Ireland.

Tyrone have done well through the qualifiers in the past, as they reached the All-Ireland final in 2018 after losing an Ulster quarter-final, and they will be hoping for a similar change in fortunes this year.

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