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Clarke: Super eight format will benefit Tyrone

Martin Clarke, right, believes that Tyrone are better than they showed against Dublin

RUMOURS of the demise of Ulster football have been greatly exaggerated, according to former Down star Martin Clarke.

Tyrone’s capitulation to a jaw-droppingly slick Dublin in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final has ushered in a tidal wave of criticism of northern football and the much-maligned blanket defence.

Clarke, however, believes that next year’s introduction of the ‘Super Eight’ format will allow teams like Tyrone to regroup after deflating championship defeats.

“I just think there can be a lot of knee-jerk opinions given the format of the Gaelic season where you have three weeks to prepare for that big game.

“I don’t think it’s as doom and gloom as that one performance shows. I think Dublin are definitely well ahead of the rest at the minute.

“But the current format is frustrating because Tyrone needed to wait 11 months to get their shot after that Mayo performance last year.

“I know Donegal beating Dublin in 2014 is referenced as a good thing for the underdog but it’s hard to know if the current format of the one-off game is beneficial.

“When they’re bringing in the Super Eights, I think that’ll favour the likes of Tyrone.

“If that was their first game in the super eights, they might be able to regroup, get another two games and make the semi-finals. I think more games will actually help teams that are that far behind.”

The full inteview with Martin Clarke is available in store today or online here.

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