Owen Mulligan suggests Tyrone narrowed pitch to prepare for Donegal in Ballybofey

Owen Mulligan suggests Tyrone narrowed pitch to prepare for Donegal in Ballybofey

Former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan has suggested the county narrowed their Omagh pitch for the Super 8 clash with Dublin in preparation for this weekend's showdown with Donegal.

Mulligan told Paddy Power News: "This game is huge for Tyrone, absolutely massive. The whispers doing the rounds in the county are that Omagh’s pitch wasn’t narrowed for the Dubs, but to reflect the size of Ballybofey’s pitch. That will tell you how big this game is.

"It’s going to be a tight one. Ballybofey isn’t an easy place to go, it’ll be hostile.

"They’re the Ulster Champions at the end of the day. Tyrone are yet to beat a Division 1 team in the championship and that’s a big worry for me. We’ve been beaten by Monaghan, we’ve been beaten by Dublin and now we have a must-win game against Donegal."

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte suggested the pitch had been narrowed for the meeting with Dublin on the request of Sky Sports, though this was later denied by the broadcaster.

Instead Mulligan believes it is down to similarities in the approaches of Dublin and Donegal.

"I think Donegal will mirror Dublin’s style the last day in taking out the ball winners and the big players such as Peter Harte, Mattie Donnelly and Niall Sludden.

"Dublin targeted those three lads and made it difficult for us to supply them with enough ball. Only four forwards scored from play against Dublin and that’s crazy considering the scores we were racking up before that and you’re not going to win big games with that kind of a return."

Whoever survives Sunday's decider, Mulligan doesn't see either getting close to the All-Ireland champions in a potential final.

"I thought Tyrone hit them with everything they had in the first half. It was dog eat dog out there and it was a joy to watch after last year’s hammering when we went back home with our tail between our legs.

But, and I hate to say this, the Dubs looked like they could go up another gear and really blow us out of the water if they needed to. In Croke Park they’ll be a different animal entirely and we mightn’t have laid a glove on them.

I don’t think I’ve seen anyone who can stop them this year. I was very impressed with Tyrone in the first half but the winning mentality that Dublin has makes them a hard animal to stop.

"I’ve a wee sneaky feeling that Galway could give them a bit of a game if they meet. If anyone’s going to give them a game it’ll be the Tribesmen."

He certainly doesn't see Kerry dethroning Jim Gavin's men in a semi-final should they survive in Group 1 on Saturday.

"To be honest Kerry are being judged on past teams and are been blown up due to past teams. They beat a rubbish Cork team and struggled against the two Division 1 teams they played. I really don’t think they’re contenders.

"They should be out of the championship. I don’t think they’re anywhere near the finished article. It’s far too soon for them."

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