Feargal Logan wants Tyrone to take the direct route

Despite the return this year of the safety net of the Qualifiers, Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan feels that route is a risk not worth taking
Feargal Logan wants Tyrone to take the direct route

Allianz Football League Division 1, Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, Kerry 27/3/2022 Tyrone manager’s Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

The return of the Qualifiers following a two-year suspension won’t tempt Feargal Logan into a false sense of security.

He wants his Tyrone team to defend the All-Ireland title via the primary route, leaving nothing to chance until absolutely necessary in the knock-out stages.

Any diversion via the scenic route is a risk that the Red Hand joint-manager feels is not worth taking.

“There’s no easy rehabilitation for teams now, and you could have an abrupt Championship game. You could have an even more abrupt back door game against quality opposition, and it could make for an early bath in the summer,” he said.

“As we saw from the League, everybody is up and at it, so I don’t expect anything different from this Championship.

“Everybody is going to be going full throttle, as you would expect, so you want to keep your default, your back door game in hand as long as you can, but then you run out of it once you hit an Ulster final. All-Ireland quarters, and you’re gone.” 

So he’s targeting a dynamic start to the provincial series when he takes his team to Enniskillen to tackle Fermanagh in Saturday’s provincial round tie.

“One analysis is that the less hurdles you have to jump, the better, and last year we had five to jump.

“This year, even if you went straight through it, that makes it six.

“Now that’s a very crude analysis of it, but the flip side of that is, yes, it (preliminary round) focuses us quickly and it gets us up and running early.

“But sometimes you like to sit and watch other teams, and get a look at the opposition and the like, so it’s hard to know how to read it.

“But it has got us focused quickly out of the League, and I hope that it stands to us.

“It stands to us if you win, but if you go the other way, it’s a very early bath.” 

Last year, a six-goal trouncing by Kerry in the League proved to be a pivotal moment in Tyrone’s season, a prelude to a spectacular turnaround which saw them stun the Kingdom in the All-Ireland semi.

A few weeks ago, an entirely different League experience saw the Red Hands score a rare Fitzgerald Stadium victory.

Logan is hoping that that visit to Killarney can also represent a turning point for a team that had been struggling, with relegation a constant threat right up until the final day of the series.

“It was a complete polar opposite this year in Killarney. Certainly the feeling leaving it was a different feeling from last year. That’s the famous line about learning from losing and learning from winning.

“It’s a double edge, but I certainly think that in Killarney, the team played very well, and we have shown progress right from the McKenna Cup.

“We started very poorly, then we were patchy, playing half to half against Armagh and Donegal. We hope that the two full performances against Mayo and Kerry were signs that there’s a continual upward graph.

“We have to be cautious and conscious that Mayo and Kerry maybe had their eyes on a different prize when they played us.

“So we wouldn’t want to lose the run of ourselves on those two games.”

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