Tyrone closing in on top teams, says McGinley

23 February 2017

Dublin and Tyrone players collide during their Allianz FL clash at Croke Park in 2015.
©INPHO/Cathal Noonan.

Former Tyrone All-Ireland winner Enda McGinley feels the Ulster champions are closing in on the top three teams in the country.

The Red Hands drew with Dublin last Saturday week after letting a five-point lead slip against the All-Ireland champions and McGinley, who won three Celtic Crosses with his native county, sees it as the latest evidence to support his argument that Tyrone are closest to the top three teams in the country.

"The thing with the team now is that everybody respects them as a top level team," the ex-Tyrone midfielder told Newstalk.com.

"Whether they’re in the top three is arguable - near to Kerry, Mayo and Dublin - but they’re certainly the closest as being the team outside of that to be considered in that group."

Having had to wait for their first Ulster title in six years last summer, McGinley feels Mickey Harte has successfully re-built his team from the back up.

"It’s probably (how the team) have been developing over three or four years and in the initial one or two years they were very defensive. They definitely lacked that cutting edge last year. You definitely see Mickey creating much more of a cutting edge up front and adding an attacking thrust to the team.

"He’s been trying to get that balance right between a strong defence and attack. In the first game against Roscommon, they seemed to be holding a slightly higher line than previous games. They were attempting to make stops around the midfield and even pushed up on kick-outs.

"That shows a further evolution to what we’ve seen in previous years. They were defensive against Dublin up in so far as they work so hard and they track back an awful lot. All the players seem to be ready to track back. They’re trying to hold a slightly higher line and they have certainly been working hard on their attacking game.

"The defensive game is what they’re known for because that came first. In most team’s development, that is what comes first. For them to succeed they need to turn into a more effective attacking unit. Last year you definitely saw a progression of that. So far this year I definitely think you’ve seen them push on more in that regard."

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