Former Tyrone star, Owen Mulligan has praised the role “match winner” Jonny Cooper plays for Dublin as he admits that no team are close to concocting a game plan that will beat the All Ireland champions.
The Paddy Power GAA ambassador and columnist believes every team needs a defender who plays the game on the “edge”, comparing him to controversial Real Madrid star, Sergio Ramos.
“The teams I played in on ‘03, ‘05 and ’08, we were blessed with nasty b***ards in the back line – the sort of defender that took it to the edge in every single game. I’m a massive fan of Jonny Cooper, the Sergio Ramos of Dublin. He dives as if he’s been shot by a sniper and he fouls cynically in all the right areas.”
“He’s a match winner. Cooper controls Dublin’s back line, and if referees need to be challenged he’s the first man up, like butter would melt. Cute whorism comes to mind. Tyrone lack such a figure. You can’t teach this, you’re just born with it. The opposition hate him, but he’s a cult hero on Hill 16. Every team needs a Jonny Ramos!”
The 37-year-old insists that Dublin’s success is not solely due to their financial standing but rather their quality and their unrivalled desire, while he believes other counties will have to change their mindset if they want to challenge Dublin.
“All the talk about Dublin’s success is connected to their financial situation and it’s suggested the county should be split in two. That’s complete nonsense in my opinion. What it all boils down to is the fact that these are a group of individuals that have the burning desire to make their county an unstoppable force.”
“It’s not Dublin’s fault that they’ve gone so far ahead of the chasing pack. Their motivation is to strive for greatness. Their rivals are just happy to keep it tight and be beaten by six or seven. They’ll go down the road happy and content they weren’t beat out the gate. That’s bullsh*t!”
“To end their dominance the chasing pack need to change their mindset. Any team that has ended a dominant teams rain, has died in their boots for the full 70 minutes plus.”
It’s a long road back from Tyrone after their six-point loss but Mulligan explains that the team will take some positives from their season as a whole and backs Mickey Harte as the man to restore the county to its former glory.
“To get to an All-Ireland final after being beat in the first round of the championship and build a new team shows that Tyrone are going in the right direction. Nobody gave them a chance, but the bond and togetherness they’ve shown means they could be dining at the top table for a long time.”
“I genuinely believe he’s the man to bring us forward. He’s had a few shots at the likes of myself and other former players, but we’re entitled to our opinion and we have to call it as we see it. He’s brought a new level of confidence to the county and when you think back to their first-round loss to Monaghan they weren’t given a chance, but made it to the All-Ireland final.”