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Brian McGuigan - 'Playing Kerr...
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Brian McGuigan - 'Playing Kerry will suit Tyrone'

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

06:48 5 Aug 2019

On Sunday 11 August one of the GAA's great rivalries will be renewed as Tyrone and Kerry meet in their All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park.

Although Kerry may have the most recent championship victory between these two; winning by four points in the 2015 semi-final, Kerry people will vividly remember the frustrations Tyrone caused them for so many years.

The Kingdom lost out to the Red Hand in the 2003 All-Ireland semi-final and then in both the 2005 and 2008 deciders.

Legendary Kerry defender Tomás Ó Sé has said about them;

"Maybe the biggest regret I have in football is that we didn't beat that Tyrone team when it mattered."

Much has changed in the eleven years since a Mickey Harte side last lifted the Sam Maguire and with a new generation of players, the rivalry mightn't be as bitter and intense as Ó Sé remembers it.

Speaking after their loss to Dublin over the weekend, which set up this tie, Tyrone legend Brian McGuigan has looked ahead to the encounter with Off the Ball's Stephen Doyle.

"I know Mickey [Harte] as well as anybody he doesn't like losing games but I think Kerry will maybe be more suited to Tyrone than Mayo.

"Mayo coming out of the Super 8s are a better team than they were going into the Super 8s.

"We've a bit of history with Kerry, we always relish playing them, we always raise our game and I think we're better suited to playing Kerry.

"I don't think they went out to lose the game today but certainly, Mickey could have made a few changes that could have helped to losing the game."

McGuigan has also been considering how Tyrone may set-up to face this Kerry side that has arguably some of the best ever and most naturally gifted forwards.

"If Tyrone give Kerry the start that they did with Cork at half-time in the Super 8s game, there will be no coming back because Kerry will just be ruthless, with the full-forward line they have there will be no coming back.

"We know now that Tyrone haven't the man-markers to probably mark the likes of Geaney and Clifford.

"In the earlier rounds of the championship, we seen even against Antrim got two goals against Tyrone, Derry got one and that was all straight through the middle.

"I think you'll see Tyrone reverting back to type and going very defensive and working on the counter-attack.

"Against Donegal, we went man-to-man and we just haven't the players to do that.

"Mickey's going with the system that suits the players that he has at his disposal, unfortunately for supporters watching the game it's not exciting.

"Defensively, and especially in the full-back line, Kerry aren't as good as the likes of Dublin or Mayo so with Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly posing threats I think we can expose them."

Tyrone face Kerry in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final at 3.30 pm in Croke Park on Sunday 11 August.

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