After yesterday’s bumper preview of Galway vs. Dublin in the All-Ireland football semi-finals, we turned our attention to Monaghan vs. Tyrone on OTB AM this morning. Carlow coach Steven Poacher joined us to chat through the All-Ulster clash, having had to prepare for Championship clashes against both sides in the last couple of seasons.
Here are the main takeaways from our chat with the Down native:
Tyrone’s 2017 semi-final demolition – 12 months on
“One of the biggest strengths of Tyrone is the flexibility of their system and their adaptability,” Poacher told us, which is significant in the context of what happened last year.
He reckons the deflating nature of the early Con O’Callaghan goal in the semi-final showed up a one-dimensional nature to Mickey Harte’s setup, but this year Harte has “evolved and grown with the game.”
Poacher subscribes to the theory that Tyrone can go and chase a match now, adapting to the in-game circumstances that may arise. This was very much on show when they successfully chased the game in Ballybofey last weekend.
He also points out that the Red Hand have highly-skilled footballers all over the pitch, using the example of centre-back Frank Burns who lines out at full-forward for his club.
“Monaghan’s greatest ever chance of making an All-Ireland”
While Poacher is tipping Tyrone for victory on Sunday, he does give Monaghan one hell of a chance.
The main reason for this is the Farney’s patience, stating that Monaghan won’t wander into what he describes as “Tyrone’s spider’s web.”
We can expect a lot of lateral football on Sunday, then, as Monaghan avoid engaging in the tackle. This will obviously prevent Tyrone’s counterattacking game from getting going, but Poacher reckons their options off the bench should edge it in Mickey Harte’s side’s favour.
The ‘double-treble’ switch
The ‘double-treble’ switch was mentioned by Steven Poacher in relation to Monaghan’s possession tactics, which was a term that pricked our ears. He explained the phrase, and the application of it in the context of this weekend’s action:
“They would take the ball to the sideline, someone would come off the line, take the ball, it would be transferred to the other side of the pitch and then transferred back again.
“If you look at Galway, Galway are sort of in the infancy of their system with Paddy (Tally) so, zonally, and tactically, awareness, Galway still tend to follow the ball in packs so what will happen is Galway will naturally gravitate towards the ball, and then it’s transferred again and little gaps and little holes will appear.
“For me, Tyrone are probably a little bit more structured than Galway in that aspect so Monaghan might not just find the same gaps and the same spaces when they do make those double and treble switches”
Galway probably won’t beat Dublin, but Tyrone might
Poacher felt Galway were “extremely flat and extremely below par” in their clash with Monaghan last weekend and doesn’t feel they’ll be the ones to stop Dublin’s four in a row.
Tyrone might be, however.
The Carlow coach reckons they are the only side in the country who have the bench to match Dublin’s, and that that prospective All-Ireland would be far from a procession.
In fact, Poacher said that both teams this Sunday are equipped to give Dublin a serious test. Don’t stop the press on the “Monaghan for Sam 2018” signs just yet, then.
Poacher for Down?
As a highly-respected coach from Down, we had to ask Poacher if he was interested in the vacant managerial post in his own county.
“Listen lads, I’ve enough problems in my life!” he said.
Galway coach, Paddy Tally, has also been touted as a potential appointment.
“I thought it was a bit disrespectful to mention Paddy Tally in the papers this morning on the eve of a huge game for him but, Paddy would be a fantastic man, I’d be delighted to see someone like Paddy take the job... he’s up there with one of the best in the country,” Poacher reckons.
What about a Tally – Poacher combo?
“Paddy couldn’t deal with my intensity or my enthusiasm!”