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Colm O'Rourke: Shaky Tyrone defence a sign of the times

Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 21:35 | Comments

Colm O'Rourke predicted that Tyrone would react to last week's performance
Colm O'Rourke predicted that Tyrone would react to last week's performance

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Tyrone’s defence is problematic and a sign of the times, according to RTÉ analyst Colm O’Rourke.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s senior football action, including the replay between Tyrone and Down, O’Rourke said Down’s remarkable comeback last weekend meant that power had shifted between the counties, but suggested Tyrone’s problems stemmed from an insecure defence.

“There’s no doubt that the power has shifted,” O’Rourke told RTÉ. “But in saying that, Tyrone were the better team for quite a part of the game, and probably should have been out of sight.

“Their big problem is their defence. It was a problem during the league. It’s not something you would associate with Tyrone in the past, who were the authors of the sweeper system – and sometimes two or three sweepers when the likes of Brian Dooher were around.

“It was a real sign of the times when they had to go back for the likes of Conor Gormley and Justin McMahon.”

However, O’Rourke dismissed the notion that Down would start the replay as favourites. He said Tyrone would have been shocked by the game, and that he expected them to respond.

Looking at the Derry versus Donegal clash, O’Rourke said that he thought Derry had the advantage, and were a young, up-and-coming team, but that neither side would ultimately win the All-Ireland.

“[Derry] look to be a team who are making strides forwards, [whereas] Donegal are trying to capture old glories.”

O’Rourke  said he did not think Donegal would recapture the All-Ireland-winning form of two years ago, and that a lot of their players were in decline.

“A lot of their players actually won an All-Ireland in the latter end of their careers, and it was a fantastic achievement. And they haven’t been able to get any new real talent in.”

Previewing the weekend’s third football clash, O’Rourke predicted that Galway would be “a good bit better than they have been for the last few years” in their game against London in Ruislip on Sunday.

“We must remember that Galway have an All-Ireland under-21 a few years ago to their name,” he said. “There’s a lot of that young talent are getting to the right age for inter-county football.”

He said an All-Ireland quarter-final would be the minimum expected of Galway this season, and denied that London represented a potential banana skin for them.

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