Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness has had his say ahead of the highly-anticipated clash of Dublin and Tyrone on August 27.
Writing for the Irish Times, McGuinness looked at how important it is that Tyrone give themselves the opportunity to compete while also outlining the necessary components when it comes to masterminding a victory over Dublin.
McGuinness picked out what he believed could be a crucial factor in the game – how Dublin defend the opposition kick-outs.
Referring to Dublin’s quarter-final victory over Monaghan on Saturday, the 2012 All-Ireland winning manager had this to say:
“The other interesting thing for me was the extent to which Dublin went zonal on the Monaghan kick-out. This isn’t a new tactic but Dublin decided to push four players into the full-forward line and three in the half-forward line.”
“Four is a lot to push into the full-forward line and once or twice Rory Beggan clipped the ball over the four of them into that pocket between the 20 and 45 and Monaghan got out with the ball. That’s a lot of bodies to have committed to that area of the field if you’re not going to win possession.”
McGuinness’ analysis makes for interesting reading given that many view the Dublin system as a well-oiled machine that makes the reigning Leinster and All-Ireland champions simply unbeatable.
Dublin tend to enjoy possession from their own kick-outs and then move the ball quickly and effectively up the field – transitioning from defence to attack at pace, recycling the ball out of corner back in for scoring opportunities.
The patient build-up play and possession tactics of the Dubs are easy on the eye, but McGuinness isn’t entirely convinced that the Dublin system comes without it’s flaws.
Should they adopt the same tactics when they face Tyrone, the Donegal man makes the argument that it could free up space in the midfield for Tyrone to move the ball quickly into attack, perhaps creating more goal-scoring opportunities for the Ulstermen.
“A ’keeper like Niall Morgan can pick out a long pass over the top and take out seven and maybe eight opposition players.”
Few football fans across the country think that there is any beating Dublin this season, but many are convinced that should anyone bring a scrap to the table it will be Tyrone. The Red Hand have impressed in winning the Ulster Championship before seeing off Armagh comprehensively in Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
Mickey Harte’s men will face a major challenge in beating a team deemed one of the greatest of all-time, but with a potential flaw in their tactics available to exploit. One would imagine Harte and his backroom staff will be looking at any opportunity to get at the Dubs very closely.
Peter Harte and Colm Cavanagh have come in for extensive praise for their performances so far in this year’s championship. Should Tyrone be granted the opportunity to exploit this, one would imagine these would be the men coming into the pocket of space and feeding the ball into the likes of Sean Cavanagh and Mark Bradley to convert into scores that could have a huge bearing on any potential result.
One thing is for certain: Tyrone will be in with a shout and have nothing to lose going into this game, and McGuinness believes this factor could prove influential in what makes for one of the games of the championship.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena.
Check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, where we debated whether football’s Super 8s was doomed to failure. We also hear from Mickey Harte, Kieran McGeeney and Michael Ryan.