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Lethargic Dubs weren't the only ones blown away by Red Hands shock and awe; IN ASSOCIATION WITH BREAFFY HOUSE RESORT.

Byline: Peter Canavan

LAST week's performance by Kerry left me in awe but it was equalled on Saturday as I watched my own county dismantling a fancied Dublin side in breathtaking fashion.

In previous games Tyrone may not have been playing to their full potential, yet they were prepared to hang on by their very fingernails in order to go through.

This time round, their methodology of sheer hard work was complimented by a display of skill and craft.

Tyrone's speed of movement and speed of thought was much superior to Dublin's, so much so that the Dubs were made to look lethargic and pedestrian in everything they did and everything they tried to do.

This game was billed as the launch-pad for a Dublin tilt at the All-Ireland title.

In truth they got caught in the perfect ambush.

For starters, Tyrone had been playing poorly up to this point whilst Dublin looked majestic in lifting their fourth Leinster title in a row.

The fact that Ulster teams had succumbed to inferior Leinster opposition indicated that Dublin would have no difficulties in knocking down the last Ulster side left standing.

Not only had the Dublin players to deal with this perception but in every single paper they lifted virtually every pundit - myself included - had predicted a Dublin victory.

No doubt wherever the players went themselves they were hearing the same views from their own supporters.

After all, with a Tyrone team well past their best and a Wexford team that they had already beaten by 23 points sitting in the semifinal, everything looked in place for Dublin to finally reach an All-Ireland final.

Unfortunately for them, Tyrone did not read the script.

Every so-called expert that predicted an easy Dublin win was really fuelling the Red Hand fire.

These group of players, many of whom know what it takes to win an All-Ireland, did not intend to be lambs to the slaughter.

Far from it, as they went on to produce the finest display from a Tyrone team since winning the All-Ireland in 2005.

It's one thing being motivated - it's another thing to go out and play with such skill and composure.

Tyrone hunted in packs when not in possession and when they did win it, the man on the ball had so many options.

Their support play was magnificent.

Dublin on the other hand looked like a side that had never used a wet football before.

It was like a bar of soap for them such was the number of misplaced passes and the ball slipped from their hand time after time.

If Dublin were edgy and indecisive when in possession, the Tyrone players from one to 15 looked so comfortable on the ball.

On a par with Kerry, they made light of the atrocious conditions and performed the basic skills of the game confidently.

The expression on the two managers' faces at the end said it all.

Paul Caffrey appeared to be in shock at the manner of his team's capitulation.

All along he indicated he would give it one more year and he was correct to state his position so soon after their defeat.

In typical Caffrey mode he remained dignified to the end.

Whilst bitterly disappointed he did not go down the road of criticising his players or make other lame excuses for their defeat.

A manager can only do so much with the players at his disposal.

I would safely say that the best players available to Dublin were all in Caffrey's panel but they still remain short of the two or three class players that can make the difference between winning and losing an All-Ireland.

It was like a bar of soap for them.. the ball slipped from their hand time after time


SWEET VICTORY Ryan McMenamin celebrates Tyrone's victory over the hot favourites; DIGNIFIED Paul Caffrey
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2008
Next Article:Mickey is the Harte and soul of team; IN ASSOCIATION WITH BREAFFY HOUSE RESORT.

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