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Dooher says bench made the difference as Tyrone dump Donegal out of Championship

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18:17 18 Jul 2021

Tyrone manager Brian Dooher praised his squad as a whole after their Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final win over Donegal on Sunday.

0-23 to 1-14 was the final score at Brewster Park as The Red Hand booked their spot in the provincial decider where they'll face Monaghan.

The result also means Donegal's year is over as there's no backdoor with the calendar reshuffled because of the pandemic.

Speaking to OTB Sports at full-time, Dooher, who's in his first year in the job, said it was great to be back in a final.

"We came out today with the objective of reaching the Ulster final.

"Donegal were in front of us and we were under no illusions about the task that was in front of us.

"The boys dug in deep and played well and worked hard.

"There were times during the game that we were maybe living on the edge a bit but thankfully we seen it off in the end and I think we came strong in the last 10 minutes or so."

Conditions were tough in the heat in Enniskillen but Tyrone's luck was in as they were handed quite an advantage before half-time.

Donegal captain Michael Murphy was sent off before the break for a wild kick on Kieran McGeary, after he missed a penalty.

Dooher agreed this was a turning point in the game.

"It definitely was a big moment, it had a big influence on the game, especially in them weather conditions out there.

"Our boys, I have to credit them, they steadied the ship at times whenever it looked as if it was going against them and they got back and chipped in with a couple of scores.

""We will have to look at how Donegal got some of their scores, some of them they got too easy for my liking today.

"Maybe that's easy [to say] watching them from aside, them boys out there gave it their all, and it's definitely not easy on a day like that."

Tyrone scored five points from the bench in the game and Dooher pointed out that replacements are so important on day's with tough weather conditions.

"The subs coming in is a big factor in it, it was a matter of getting fresh legs on and identifying who needed to come off.

"I asked everybody to go out at the start and give everything, don't hold anything for the last five or 10 minutes, and they done that.

"Today our subs all worked and they came on and contributed and added value to the whole team effort, other days it doesn't work like that.

"They helped to push us on and push us over the line.

"Then again, there's another five or six boys on that bench that could have come on and done the same, and they were unlucky not to get on.

"We're in a good place from that point of view."

Tyrone now have an Ulster final with Monaghan to look forward to as they attempt to win the Anglo-Celt Cup for the first time since 2017.

Whatever happens, their campaign this year is already more successful than 2020 where they were knocked out in the first round of Ulster by Donegal.

Dooher says they're not getting carried away with anything and taking things round by round.

"To be honest, we just wanted to get over the first round of the championship, we weren't looking any further than that, maybe people would think we might, but we weren't.

"We're taking it one step at a time, maybe it's an old cliche but for us and for Tyrone it was important to take it one step at a time and not to get ahead of ourselves.

"Looking forward to Monaghan, we know what they'll bring, they're one of the top teams there.

"They've won more Ulsters recently than us, they've been in more Ulster finals, they're scoring goals for fun, it's definitely not going to be easy."

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