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Football: Casey got it in Hand; GAA: ALLIANZ NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SEASON: JUST BELIEVE AND YOU'LL WIN, DUBS TYRONE v DUBLIN Omagh 2.30pm.

DUBLIN star Paul Casey has thrown down the gauntlet to his Capital colleagues by telling them: "Pick up today where you left off last season."

The Blues head north to face the might of All-Ireland champions Tyrone in the most eagerly awaited tie of the year.

It's just the sort of game to ignite the Allianz League after their titanic tussles in last year's championship.

Of course, Casey isn't keen on another defeat to Tyrone, who pulled the plug on Dublin's 2005 championship dream.

But what he does want to see is the same sort of fighting spirit that summed up their summer.

The wing-back was ever present in the side that claimed a first Leinster title since 2002 and subsequently took Tyrone to an All-Ireland quarter-final replay.

The task now is to build on that breakthrough - something Dublin failed to do in 2003 when they were last in this situation.

Casey was one of the young stars that hit the scene in 2002 before their nightmare 2003 season which saw them lose out to Laois and Armagh under Tommy Lyons' guidance.

He said: "What happened back then was that we started the 2003 season with a clean slate when we really should have been building on 2002.

"We've talked a lot about it and talked about the importance of building on our success now from last year.

"We see this Dublin team as a long-term process, not something that will go out one year and get some success and then fade away.

"Our aim is to get into that top three of Kerry, Armagh and Tyrone. We're not there yet but we're not too far off.

"Winning breeds confidence and that's what we're going to try to use the NFL for."

Casey has been named in his customary right half-back position today.

It's an experimental Dublin outfit given the unavailability of the Kilmacud Crokes players, injuries to key players and, of course, retirements.

New comers include goalkeeper Paul Copeland and corner-back Niall O'Shea while panelist Denis Bastick makes a first start at midfield beside Ciaran Whelan.

There are also starts in attack for Kevin Bonner, son of former Donegal player Seamus, and Round Towers clubman Derek Murray.

Facing Tyrone in front of 20,000 will prove a real baptism of fire, but Casey is confident of pilfering two big points.

The Lucan Sarsfields clubman enthused: "We're playing the All-Ireland champions in their own back yard and we're going there to get a win.

"We want to do as well as we can in the league and be involved in the knockout stages. The top three championship teams have all had league success in the last few years so it's obviously proven a good springboard ahead of the championship."

Casey has vivid memories of last summer's championship and Dublin's draw and replay with Tyrone.

He noted: "The main lesson we learned was you can't let quality sides like them get a run on you early on.

"Hopefully we can show we've learned our lesson against them this time and in the league in general."

TYRONE v DUBLIN TG4 2.30pm

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RALLYING DUBLIN'S TROOPS: Paul Casey
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2006
Words:527
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