DUBLIN manager Jim Gavin believes that Tyrone have the firepower to make Sunday’s All-Ireland final a real shoot-out.
Mickey Harte has long rolled his eyes at the defensive label that his team has carried in recent seasons, and his opposite number was singing off the same hymn sheet ahead of Sunday’s big match at Croke Park.
“When we were preparing for our game up in Omagh they had just beaten Cork and Roscommon with a combined score of 7-44 in two games, which gives you another dimension to their game,” Gavin said.
“They have scored 17 goals in this year’s championship in those nine games, over 160 points, so this perception of them as a defensive team is not the case.
“They are offensively very strong. Connor McAliskey is playing really well for them up front, you look at (Mark) Bradley, Lee Brennan, (Niall) Sludden is obviously playing really well too.
“The scores they get from Tiernan McCann, Colm Cavanagh chipping in with a point the last day from midfield, Peter Harte obviously playing really well too, Frank Burns being effective up front too.
“The scoring is shared around, (Cathal) McShane in the Meath game when he popped up and got that late score for them, so we’d be very aware of the threats they have from an offensive perspective.
“They are still teak tough and tight at the back, which they always have been. So they are a very formidable team and I think the expectations their supporters will have going into the final is justified, because we have seen how good they are.
“The games we have played against them, there really has been a kick of a ball between us.”
The Red Hands are aiming for their fourth All-Ireland crown since their breakthrough success 15 years ago, but last season’s 12-point semi-final loss to Dublin demonstrates the size of the task at hand.
Gavin, however, feels that the end scoreline wasn’t completely reflective of what transpired last August.
“I don’t think it was a true reflection,” he said. “They were disappointed with their performance and yet if you look at the start of the second half there, they clocked up a couple of scores and if they had closed the margin, took a few more opportunities, I think the last quarter of the game could have had a different complexion to it.
“We are realistic to understand how that game went. Some people would maybe have different perception on it, but we certainly understood how good they were and how close they were to us in that second half.”
While Tyrone are aiming to lift Sam Maguire for a fourth time ever, the Leinster kingpins are chasing a fourth All-Ireland success in a row.
Their manager puts their incredible from down to good old honest hunger.
“Everyone volunteers their time, we are all coming from work here to be with you (the media).
“The players when they meet up later, they’ll have come form a day’s work and are representing their community, parish and club and it’s about being the best you can in every game you play and if you can’t give that then we accept that.
“There is self sacrifice and a lot of social events they might miss with commitment to their sports and if they need to go to that space that’s fine, someone else gets that slot.”