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Highlights on Off The Ball

Dooher points to character of squad as Tyrone book All-Ireland final spot

Brian Dooher hailed the character of his squad after they beat Kerry in the All-Ireland Senior Fo...

Dooher points to character of...

Dooher points to character of squad as Tyrone book All-Ireland final spot

Brian Dooher hailed the character of his squad after they beat Kerry in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final on Saturday evening.

3-14 to 0-22 was the final score after extra-time at Croke Park as the Red Hand booked their place in the decider against Mayo on September 11.

The game was postponed twice after a major Covid outbreak in the Tyrone squad.

They therefore had a four-week wait for the game following the Ulster final while Kerry had not played in five weeks since their hammering of Cork in the Munster decider.

Speaking to OTB Sports at full-time, joint manager Brian Dooher said there was a sense of relief amongst his squad to be on the right side of the result, particularly after the complicated build-up.

"It's great to come out the other end with a result.

"For a long time there it was touch and go, we were just glad to get to extra-time for a while and then we managed that wee purple patch at the start and that gave us the cushion to live on and survive on.

"Coming down here we didn't know what way boys were going to react, we came down a few short obviously.

"Thankfully the boys [from the bench] came in and all chipped away and the boys did remarkable, considering what they've been through this last couple of weeks."

There was much discussion before this game about how both sides would come into it?

Would Tyrone be match-fit after so many of their players contracted Covid-19.

Would Kerry be sharp enough after not having a tough championship test?

Brian Dooher was pleased with their energy levels, which he felt played a key factor in the win.

"We kept the ball and moved the people as opposed to moving the ball.

"That worked for us today as the ball wasn't sticking as well inside at times - the Kerry defence was really on top.

"But the boys readjusted, changed their plan a wee bit, and it paid dividends."

Once again Tyrone's bench was crucial in the game.

Cathal McShane came off the bench to score 1-3, including the crucial second Tyrone goal that was a massive moment in sending the game to extra-time.

As he has done throughout the championship, Dooher highlighted the importance of being able to bring big players into the game.

"It's definitely important. It's great to have game-changers there on the bench and you know what? We have many of them there.

"But we actually have more that we can't put on our 26, unfortunately, that really put in a tremendous effort throughout the year.

"That's why we have got to where we have got to, it's because of them people.

"It's great to bring on men who can make a difference, and they certainly did today."

Tyrone are now back into the All-Ireland final for the first time since 2018 as they aim to win Sam Maguire for the first time in 13 years.

It's also Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan's first year in charge after they took over from veteran manager Mickey Harte.

Dooher though isn't getting carried away and recognises the massive opposition that Mayo will pose.

"It's good to be here.

"We just took it one game at a time and seen where it ended up and we're here [in the final] now.

"We'll go away now and there will be a few sore bodies for the next week or so but hopefully we won't have too many injuries but we'll see, we'll reassess things in the next couple of days.

"It'll be another challenge. They put out the All-Ireland champions of the last six years.

"I think everybody could say in the second half [against Dublin] it was probably one of the performances of the year.

"It's a major challenge - if you look at Mayo, they've been there or thereabouts every year, bar the team that have won the All-Ireland, they've been the best team in Ireland over the last 10 years."

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championshi Brian Dooher Tyrone GAA