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'We just wanted to win the first game' Dooher on remarkable first year with Tyrone

Tyrone are the 2021 All-Ireland Senior Football champions after a season that included new manage...

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

22:09 11 Sep 2021



'We just wanted to win the fir...
Football

'We just wanted to win the first game' Dooher on remarkable first year with Tyrone

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

22:09 11 Sep 2021

Tyrone are the 2021 All-Ireland Senior Football champions after a season that included new management, Covid-19, and an incredible run.

The Red Hand beat Mayo 2-14 to 0-15 at Croke Park on Saturday to round off a hectic year.

It also completes a fairytale for Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan in their first year as joint managers.

Speaking to OTB Sports after the win, Dooher said Saturday's final was an emotional experience.

"It's unbelievable, probably a lot of relief behind it.

"It's a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of hours put in over the last few months.

"This is a day for the players and I'm just glad they got their just rewards."

Once again Tyrone's bench was massive in this game.

They made their substitutions at the right time, as they have done right throughout the championship.

Cathal McShane came off the bench to score their first goal after 45 minutes before Darren McCurry got their second. 

Dooher said the strength and depth of the panel is the reason behind their success.

"There's serious competition [for places] in the squad. On any given day there are players on the bench equally as good and that's what drives the players in the team at training.

"There's 12 other boys too that are not even named. You have to give them credit, there's 38 players and the backroom staff.

"It takes everybody to get us to where we got to today."

Not many would have considered Tyrone as serious All-Ireland contenders back in June when they lost by 18 points to Kerry in the Allianz National League.

That day, where they conceded six goals, Dooher felt was a bit of a turning point on their journey.

"We just took it one day at time, it might be a cliche but for us it was true.

"We just wanted to win the first game and we didn't even do that, Donegal beat us in the league,

"The league was rocky, we got to a semi-final by score difference and were punished heavily by Kerry.

"In hindsight that was probably a great lesson for us, made it look at ourselves.

"Thankfully in the championship, we seemed to build a bit of momentum and it mightn't have been pretty sometimes but we just managed to get over the line each day."

Dooher and Feargal Logan remarkably only took over as joint managers of Tyrone this year.

Mickey Harte in fact didn't want to step away from his role after 18 years.

Many saw the changing of the guard as the beginning of a new era and thought perhaps it was the beginning of a journey the county would go on.

Not many would have predicted that would result in All-Ireland success after just one year.

"I'm lucky to get the chance to manage Tyrone, it's an exceptional honour.

"I'm just glad to play my part and make sure the players get the reward they deserve."

For many, Tyrone's championship campaign will be defined by Covid-19 and questions that surrounded the camp.

Their semi-final with Kerry was rescheduled twice, having a knock-on impact upon the date of the All-Ireland final.

Some questioned their motives in getting that date changed after over half the squad contracted the virus.

Dooher says the experience of dealing with such an issue actually saw the camp's bond grow tighter.

"Covid had a big impact on the camp, there are some players out there today probably still recovering.

"We made a decision at the time thinking that we were doing the right thing by our players.

"Everything was done in good faith, it probably gelled the team in a way because it united them even tighter if anything."

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All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final Brian Dooher Tyrone GAA

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