Tyrone minors ready for vocal Mayo fans says manager Donnelly

Mickey Donnelly

Tyrone minor football manager Mickey Donnelly is optimistic that his players will not be unnerved by the vocal support opponents Mayo will have in Sunday's All-Ireland decider.

Mayo's presence in the senior final means there is certain to be an exodus from the county to Croke Park.

"It's something we have talked about," said manager Donnelly.

"We have done a lot of scenarios-based stuff with a sports psychologist and dealing with the crowd is one of them."

Donnelly believes his team will have benefited from their semi-final win over Roscommon three weeks ago being the curtain-raiser to Dublin's senior last-four victory over Kerry.

"In the last 10 or 15 minutes in the Roscommon match, Croke Park was virtually full and I think that will definitely help.

Monaghan fight back to beat Tyrone in the Ulster Minor football final in Clones

"But in any case, sometimes when a team hears a vociferous noise against them, it can ignite them."

The semi-final win over the Rossies followed a thrilling quarter-final success over Kerry when the young Reds Hands forced the game into extra-time despite being reduced to 13 players in normal time.

Amid the hangover from the furore over Sean Cavanagh's tackle on Conor McManus, the dismissal of Chris Morris and Ruairi McGlone against the Kingdom did lead to a few more suggestions of Tyrone 'cynicism'.

Centre half-back Morris was sent off against getting a second yellow card and compounded the offence by lashing out at a Kerry player as he made his way off the pitch.

Captain McGlone was dismissed in the final five minutes of normal time after tussling with a Kerry player.

"They (the team) have come in for a wee bit of unfair criticism," says Donnelly.

"At times, it's maybe good to turn a deaf ear to that sort of stuff.

"The lads work incredibly hard. I don't think we're any more cynical or any less cynical than anybody else.

"We do everything within our powers to win the game but we certainly do it within the rules.

"We finished the Kerry match (in normal time) with 13 players. That wasn't in anybody's game plan.

"To point the finger and say that was cynicism is ridiculous because no team wants to finish a game with 13 players."

Tyrone's Padraig McGirr with Pat Havern of Down in the Ulster Minor semi-final

Donnelly goes on to make clear his huge admiration for his squad's attitude and application.

"Seventeen or 18-year-olds get a lot of grief and a lot of fingers pointed at them.

"These lads have shown themselves to carry themselves very well and they have had to make big sacrifices to get as far as they have."

Donnelly insists his team were "rank outsiders" when they headed to Ballybofey to face Donegal in their Ulster Championship opener back in May.

"We weren't fancied in the slightest. This year's team didn't come the baggage of a pile of school success.

"There was no pressure coming in and to be in an Ulster Final was probably bonus territory.

"But the longer the lads have been together as a group, they have been galvanised."

The team also had to perform the task of regrouping from a traumatic Ulster Final defeat when they lost an eight-point second-half lead against Monaghan.

"All the hard work has started to pay off and they have improved vastly and that has been shown in their last two performances," adds the manager.

Donnelly says Mayo represent a "massive job" for his charges on Sunday but he appears quietly confident that his team can lands the county's 11th All-Ireland minor title.

"We certainly feel we do (have the players to win the title). Mayo were hugely impressive when they beat Monaghan who beat us in the Ulster Final.

"They blew Monaghan away and it's going to be a huge task but we're looking forward to it."

Mayo: M Mulligan, E Doran, S Cunniffe, D Kenny, M Hall, S Coen, S Conlon, V Roughneen, D O'Connor, C Loftus, M Plunkett, P Prendergast, D Doherty, L Irwin, T Conroy.

Tyrone: S Fox, C Byrne, R Quinn, C McCann, S Hamill, C Morris, P McGirr, R Nugent, F Burns, D Mulgrew, C McKenna, R McGlone, L Brennan, D Gallagher, S McGrath.