Sean Cavanagh: Tyrone Are Like Real Madrid Now

Sean Cavanagh: Tyrone Are Like Real Madrid Now
By Paul O'Hara

Sean Cavanagh, the newly-appointed Tyrone captain, has compared his side's new brand of football to that of Real Madrid.

Speaking to the Irish Times after his return from a fourteen-week injury layoff, Cavanagh spoke positively about how the O'Neill County has ditched the sweeper system in favour of a more attacking style. The move that has given them early success, with a 2-15 to 0-15 victory over Mayo at the weekend.

He said: "We're playing an offensive brand of football, probably slightly reminiscent of Dublin last year,"

"We're trying to go man-on-man and whereas it worked a few times for us last year in the championship we possibly reverted back to a sweeper-type system but you can see out there today that going man-for-man sometimes doesn't do any harm.

"You're gambling on a Real Madrid style of football - that you're going to out-score the other team. Dublin were by far the best team in Ireland last year, but the games we played against Dublin last year we were forced to go man-on-man and I don't think we were found wanting.

"I had a suspicion that if we were to do that this year - and that's the way Mickey and the team are going - we might not be too far away from some of the bigger sides."

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So if Tyrone are the Real Madrid of GAA, does that mean I can finally liken fair-haired, balding legend Peter Canavan to Alfredo di Stefano? Will Brian Dooher be finally given his due recognition as the Makélélé of the GAA? Can Pascal 'Casillas' McConnell be finally placed in the pantheon of goalkeeping greats? The parallels between the Red Hands and Los Merengues are more than just a switch to all-white gear and players with a fondness for the rough stuff.

No doubt this shock conversion to a more aesthetically-pleasing philosophy will greatly please Joe Brolly and his fellow panellists. Healy Park might not yet have the same sense of history, immense size or even the adequate rain cover of the Bernabéu, and Mickey Harte has always been more Mourinho than Ancelotti, but we know now that a quiet revolution has begun.

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