McGuigan warns relegation could be ‘payback’ for Kerry

Outspoken former Tyrone player Brian McGuigan believes sending Kerry down to Division 2 next season would be “payback” for last year’s All-Ireland qualifier defeat in Killarney.

Ahead of Sunday’s game in Omagh, current Tyrone defender Aidan McCrory admitted they “would love to win and put them down” as much as he insists Kerry want to beat them and remain in the top flight.

McGuigan drew ire in Kerry in February when he said the county should forget about winning an All-Ireland title for the next six or seven years. After being sent off in his last game in a Tyrone jersey last July, he also claimed Declan O’Sullivan exaggerated an injury to convince David Coldrick to issue McGuigan a red card.

Now he feels a victory in Healy Park would be suitable revenge for the 10-point defeat in FitzgeraldStadium nine months ago.

“There’s a huge interest in this game and because of all the sideshows with the club games and player spats there’s more of a spotlight on this Sunday’s game than on any other National League game.

“The fact that Kerry’s very future in Division One depends on it makes it a very unique occasion,” McGuigan wrote in his Gaelic Life column.

“The fact that Tyrone have the opportunity to send them down would, in many people’s eyes, be some sort of payback for what went on down in Killarney last year. Tyrone, I’m sure, will see it that way. I’ve heard it said a few times in recent weeks that you wouldn’t like to see Kerry relegated, but not too many people were shedding tears or saying those sorts of things whenever Tyrone got relegated a few years back [2010].”

McGuigan has called on Tyrone supporters to make Healy Park as difficult a place for the visitors as Kerry fans made it for them in Killarney.

“I’d urge every Tyrone supporter to get themselves to Omagh. We experienced the white hot atmosphere in Kerry last year in the qualifiers, and I think that it’s only but right that we try to recreate that same atmosphere up here for Kerry’s visit on Sunday.”

Although McGuigan feels Tyrone will find it hard to match Kerry’s intensity on Sunday, he says his remarks about the Kingdom two months ago have been justified by their difficulties in Division 1.

“When I did my article earlier in the year I said Kerry football was struggling, and they were.”

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