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Tribute Tuesday – Brian Dooher

With the Ulster Football Final approaching this weekend, this week’s Tribute Tuesday looks at a man who inspired many of Tyrone’s big successes, Brian Dooher.

Tyrone or Kerry; who were the team in of the decade in the early 2000’s? The consensus generally goes to Tyrone as Kerry never managed to beat them in Croke Park on the big day. It was a Tyrone team littered with quality footballers, but was there anybody more influential than Brian Dooher?

On so many occasions, Dooher played games where he covered every blade of grass on the field. Dooher developed the position of the modern-day wing forward that has now been copied by the likes of Paul Galvin, Paul Flynn and others. They may have added more skill to the role, but Dooher was the template.

Energy was the thing most associated with Dooher’s game. In the number ten shirt he was a bundle of energy who played a real team role. He was constantly up and down the field, in Clones, Croke Park, Omagh or wherever. He was a great outlet for his defenders and also made big contributions in attack.

All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final 21/9/2008 Tyrone Brian Dooher Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Dooher had many career highlights. Having started his intercounty career in 1995, he had to wait a long time for success to come his way. At the turn of the millennium, Mickey Harte was building something special.

He was starting to reinvent the game of football. He turned the game into a high intensity battle. Work rate and tackling became as important as kicking scores. Tyrone made their first real statement in 2003.

The pictures and videos of multiple Tyrone players surrounding Kerry men in possession will forever be remembered. It was labelled as ‘puke football’, which was a load of nonsense. Tyrone and Armagh brought a new dimension to football, and a player like Dooher was the key ingredient.

All Ireland Football Final Tyrone 25/9/2005 Brian Dooher holds up the Sam Maguire Mandatory Credit©INPHO/ Tom Honan

Tyrone won their first All-Ireland in 2003. Peter Canavan captained the side and they looked to show the country that it wasn’t a one-off. Cormac McAnallen was picked as captain, taking over from Canavan but his untimely death in 2004 left a massive hole in the Tyrone set-up.

It says a lot about the character of Brian Dooher, that he took on the role of captain, a role that meant so much more in the tragic circumstances. Dooher led Tyrone to another success in 2005. This time he captained to the team in the perfect way. His actions and words were everything of a true leader and lifting the cup in 2005 was probably his number one moment.

Tyrone and Dooher were not finished as 2008 saw them shock Dublin in a quarter-final and end up in another All-Ireland final with Kerry. This was seen as the defining game of the decade and Tyrone prevailed again. As always, Dooher was highly influential and he joined an elite group of players to captain a team to win an All-Ireland twice.

He retired in 2011 finishing off his career with 6 Ulster titles, 3 All-Ireland’s and 3 All-Stars. He was a key man in a very successful Tyrone side who changed the dynamic of wing-forward play.

So here is to Brian Dooher, a true leader and a true champion.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.