All-Ireland Football Final: Sludden says Tyrone more attack-minded under Dooher and Logan

Niall Sludden tries to burst away from Kerry's Adrian Spillane in last weekend's All-Ireland semi-final
Niall Sludden says Tyrone's new management have been given the players more of a licence to take risks
All-Ireland SFC final: Tyrone v Mayo
Venue: Croke Park, Dublin Date: Saturday 11 September Throw-in: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live radio commentary on Radio Ulster & online; live text commentary online

Tyrone forward Niall Sludden says the arrival of joint-managers Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan has led to a more attack-minded Red Hand outfit.

The new regime's change of tactics hasn't always gone entirely to plan as the Red Hands shipped six goals in the League semi-final defeat by Kerry.

However, Tyrone regrouped to shock Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final.

"The new men in and the freshness has put a bit more emphasis on going and attacking," said the Dromore man.

"Attacking the kickout more, and playing more men up the field and backing ourselves that wee bit more and it's paying rich rewards for us as well."

Former Tyrone midfielder Colm Cavanagh said last week that players were reluctant to take chances in the latter years of Mickey Harte's regime for fear of mistakes being poured over in subsequent video analysis sessions.

Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher at Croke Park during the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry
Padraig Hampsey says joint-managers Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher have instilled a renewed bond in the Red Hand squad

Speaking at Tyrone's All-Ireland Final press briefing, Sludden essentially confirmed Cavanagh's view that they players are now being given licence to take risks.

Team captain Padraig Hampsey also believes the arrival of the new management has led to a renewed bond within the Red Hand squad.

"Players that aren't making the match day panel or in the 26 and they know their role so there's a great bond there and a great belief in this panel. And them men - Feargal and Brian - have instilled that in the squad," said Hampsey.

The skipper and Sludden also say Peter Donnelly's return as strength and conditioning coach has played a crucial role in Tyrone's march to next Saturday's All-Ireland decider against Mayo.

Donnelly 'got' Covid-hit players back

Sludden goes as far to say that Donnelly's work with the Tyrone squad hastened the return back to fitness of a number of men laid low by the coronavirus outbreak within the squad.

"Peter's just brilliant and amazing," added the Dromore man of Donnelly whose full-time job in his strength and conditioning role with Ulster Rugby.

"He's just been fit to get those boys back under the Return to Play protocol.

"We're lucky to have that experience from his Ulster Rugby background, because I'm sure he had to deal with a number of issues in that regard as well."

Hampsey also hailed Donnelly's input to the Red Hand squad.

"Throughout the lockdown it was just individual training and Pete was sending out sessions and tailoring sessions if lads didn't have equipment and stuff," added the Tyrone captain.

"We're just so thankful to have Pete there. He's kept us boys topped up and kept us in peak condition, and really helped when we got back into the football side of things."

Padraig Hampsey battles with Mayo's Aidan O'Shea during a 2018 League match
Aidan O'Shea is among the possible match-ups for Tyrone skipper Padraig Hampsey

Tyrone must 'raise bar' to match Mayo

Despite Tyrone's epic display against Kerry, skipper Hampsey believes he and his team-mates will have to "raise the bar" further to deny Mayo a first All-Ireland Senior title in 70 years.

"Looking back at that semi-final where Mayo beat Dublin, it's going to take a bigger effort than the effort that we put in on Saturday.

"For Mayo to overturn a team like Dublin who have dominated for many years now, it's gonna take a massive effort which they proved they had in their lockers. We know what they're going to be bringing to the table.

"They have some very experienced footballers and some young blood brought in this year that have really brought them to a new level."

One of their experienced campaigners in Aidan O'Shea and Hampsey could be in line to mark the Mayo skipper if indeed the Breaffy man does start after replacing early in the second half of the Dublin contest.

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