Jordan: We should have won more All-Irelands

PHILIP JORDAN believes Tyrone should have won more than three All-Ireland titles during the county’s golden era.

Jordan, who has called time on his inter-county career following a decade of distinguished service, pointed to unforeseen circumstances, most notably the sudden death of team captain Cormac McAnallen in 2004 as crucial factors.

The four-time All-Star wing back intends to continue playing with his club, as does Brian McGuigan, who also announced his retirement this week.

“When you look back on it, you’d like to have won more All-Irelands, but 10 years ago, you’d have taken three, that’s for certain,” said Jordan.

“There were circumstances in certain years. In ’04 we thought we could have won the All-Ireland, but obviously with Cormac’s death, it was always going to be tough for us.

“2010 was another year we thought we were in there with a shout, but Dublin beat us in the quarter-final. But Kerry don’t win the All-Ireland every year either, and I’m sure they’re thinking that the three years that we beat them, in a semi-final and two finals, they were saying that they could have won more.”

Moy clubman Jordan will take with him many treasured memories into retirement, particularly his three All-Ireland triumphs, each one of them uniquely special.

“Winning the All-Ireland is the ultimate for every county player. They were special in their own different ways. In 2003, it was the first All-Ireland Tyrone had won, and there was just raw emotion after that.

“In ’05, when we were able to dedicate that one to Cormac, it was special for all the players. And ’08, people had been saying Tyrone were finished after Peter (Canavan) had retired, and that we could never win an All-Ireland without him. We were written off at the start of the championship, and to come back and win it that way was pretty special.”

Jordan was one of an exceptional group of gifted footballers who first came to national attention in 1998 when they won a minor All-Ireland title.

He was joined on that team by a host of players who would go on to become household names, including Stephen O’Neill, Kevin Hughes, Brian McGuigan, Owen Mulligan, Enda McGinley, Cormac McAnallen, Pascal McConnell, Ciarán Gourley and Mickey McGee, all of whom went on to win U21 and senior All-Irelands.

“I think it’s unprecedented. I don’t think there has ever been a team of under-age players who have come through in such numbers.

“I was counting up the 2001 U21 team, and there was 11 of that starting team went on to win All-Ireland senior titles, which is probably unheard of. And most of them went on to play for six or seven years at least at senior level.”

With Brian Dooher, Jordan and McGuigan now having confirmed their retirements, and speculation continuing over a number of others, manager Mickey Harte faces a period of transition and rebuilding. But Jordan believes there’s sufficient talent available in Tyrone to ensure the county continues to push for top honours.

“There’s certainly enough talent to be making quarter-finals every year, and for that to be the minimum standard for every Tyrone team. I suppose that’s the thing we changed. The mind-set in Tyrone football is completely different now.

“We’ve taken a bit more stick over last few years when we haven’t been successful, and that’s only a good thing. Nobody likes getting criticised, but with that set as a standard for Tyrone football going forward, it’s only going to drive the thing on.

“When I was going to the summer camps at the age of nine or ten, there were people wearing soccer jerseys Man United and Liverpool, and now there’s not one soccer jersey in sight, and that’s probably the biggest difference we have brought to the county itself. People just love gaelic football, and that’s all they care about.’’

Picture: Philip Jordan: Believes Tyrone will continue to push for top honours. Picture: Sportsfile

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