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Thursday 17 August 2017

McGleenan knows 'how to make life difficult' for Tyrone

Seán Cavanagh
Seán Cavanagh

Tyrone footballers may be joint-top of Division 1 - fresh from almost derailing Dublin's famous unbeaten run - but they still expect a massive test from Ulster rivals Cavan this weekend.

Or at least Seán Cavanagh does - partly because he knows their new manager, and fellow Tyrone man Mattie McGleenan, so well.

"Mattie's a personal friend," he explains. "He coached me in the MacRory Cup back in 2000 in Armagh. He coached me with the club for a couple of years around '07, '08, '09. Great, great fella.

"I would be in constant contact with him, he lives only over the road in Eglish. He's obviously getting a tune out of Cavan at the minute - they're playing out of their skins.

"The type of guy he is, he'll always get the buy-in of the players. I said that before he came on board and you can see how the Cavan guys are responding to him."

That said, despite a battling show against Dublin and a commendable draw away to Monaghan, the newly promoted Breffni still find themselves in the relegation zone ahead of Sunday's Allianz League showdown in Omagh.

Harking back to how McGleenan's men ambushed Tyrone last month, Cavanagh says: "He got a scalp in the McKenna Cup and I've no doubt he'll be looking to come to Healy Park and send out a message as well.

"He'll know how to make life difficult for us. It's obviously our job to make life difficult for him."

Even in pre-season fare, that defeat came as a shock.

"When you've won so many McKenna Cup games, you automatically assume that you're going to continue to win," Cavanagh admits. "But we were short of players at that point - we maybe only togged out 19 players that day and had to bring in a few extra for the Jordanstown game.

"It was a Tyrone team that were beaten by Cavan, you have to take it on the chin. We didn't perform.

"You could see the Cavan guys - even though it was only early January, they were buzzing. They really took an awful lot out of that game. We have to be ready for them."

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