SITTING with their feet up watching the top four contenders in the country battle to succeed them will have been a salutary experience for the Tyrone camp last weekend.
However while their ten month reign as All-Ireland champions will officially end on Sunday week when Kerry and Galway vie for ‘Sam Maguire’, former Red Hand star John Lynch believes that it’s important the current Tyrone squad use the painful lessons of this season in a constructive manner.
And the Castlederg man thinks that the sight of their arch-rivals Derry stealing all the limelight this summer must act as an effective motivational tool as the curtain gets set to come down on the 2022 inter-county campaign.
“ This has been a big learning curve for Tyrone this year. We went and won the All-Ireland and the lads naturally savoured that and had their celebrations and trips all over the place afterwards. Maybe the lads got a bit caught up in themselves.
“ I’m sure Brian Dooher will be one man who will bring them back down to earth again.
“ If you look this year at how Derry got themselves to an All-Ireland semi-final, Tyrone will be hurting at that and thinking they basically threw away this season.”
A mainstay of the Tyrone defence during the 1980s, Lynch argues that the current squad must treat every competition next year seriously and so get accustomed once again to that winning feeling.
“ I definitely think we will get ourselves motivated for next season, that shouldn’t be an issue now.
“And that starts with the League, we can’t be as poor again and need to rediscover that winning habit straightaway. It runs right into the Championship under the new structure so we can’t have a repeat of this season.
“ We will also be adding to the team with some exciting lads from the Under-20s which should strengthen us up front, especially the likes of Ruairi Canavan coming through, and I can’t see there being any retirements like there was last season with the six boys leaving.”
Meanwhile casting a glimpse ahead to next week’s All-Ireland Final Lynch states that the influence of Galbally man Paddy Tally is evident in the steely resolve and tenacity which Kerry demonstrated against Dublin last Sunday.
“In normal circumstances when you are playing a team like Kerry they don’t concentrate on stopping the opposition playing.
“It’s always about imposing their game on you. But things have changed under Paddy Tally. The amount of turnovers Kerry forced was impressive.
“You don’t associate Dublin with that many handling errors, they are usually more composed. But you can see the impact Tally has had on this Kerry squad.
“There was plenty of steel about them too, even the way Sean O’Se followed up after missing his penalty and putting his boot in a bit on the keeper.
“They were willing to get stuck in, something which they have been accused of not doing in tight games in the past.”
However Lynch is refusing to write off the Tribemen’s chances of pulling off a shock result.
“Two years ago Tyrone went down to Galway and got an awful trouncing so this is not a bad team in my opinion.
“They have proven it this year by reaching the All-Ireland Final and game by game they are getting better. So Kerry are big favourites but they are not the finished article either.
“No doubt they are blessed with some of the best footballers playing the game right now but if Galway can get their man marking job done properly on the two Cliffords and Sean O’Shea you never know.”
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