Thursday 20 September 2018

Canavan: 'I've trained this team and there's been no cynical play involved.'

Peter Canavan
Peter Canavan

QUITE how much gloss was corroded from Tyrone's Eirgrid All-Ireland Under 21 football triumph in Parnell Park on Saturday night as a consequence of Tipperary's very publicly aired grievances and accusations of cynicism is open to interpretation.

But very clearly, emotions ran high in both camps immediately afterwards.

"I would be very disappointed with that because you ask any of those players in there have they been coached in cynical play this year, they will give you a very honest answer," reflected Peter Canavan, Tyrone legend and this year, a selector with Fergal Logan's victorious Under 21 team.

Tommy Toomey, Tipperary's manager, didn't isolate the root of his source of injustice but he alluded to non-specific instances of 'sledging' from Tyrone players and suggested a systematic approach to fouling.


From the vantage point of the Parnell Park press box, neither were particularly discernible or indeed remarkable, particularly for a such tight match as Saturday's and with so much stake.

"I would be very disappointed if that was labelled at this team because that's not what they're coached and if there was cynical play, it was towards the end of the game when there's a team hanging on to a slender lead and it was instinct that may have took over in some cases," Canavan continued.

"But I'll make it clear and I'm sure Feargal did, I have trained the team and there has been no cynical play involved in our training sessions and those fellas will back that up."

A flash reaction to a sore defeat, then?

"I would think so. We could all look back at different incidents that happened in that game.

"It could happen in any competitive game when there is so much at stake.

"We didn't get here today playing cynical football."

A first All-Ireland Under 21 title since 2001 means a fresh consignment of winners for a county that have failed to do just that at senior level of late.

"What it does show is there is a lot of heart and determination and there is a group of young men who are prepared to do anything for the Tyrone jersey and that's very pleasing," Canavan agreed.

"And it's good to know that we have men there who have what it takes to win All-Ireland titles."

And secondly, it means that Logan, Canavan and fellow selector, Brian Dooher, are being spoken about as potential replacements for Mickey Harte, whenever football's longest serving inter-county manager decides he's had enough - even if Canavan wasn't inclined to indulge.

"The man that Tyrone has there at the minute, I don't think there's anybody would question his credentials."

"He is the best man for the job. And he'll remain there as long as he wants to be there."

u-21 football

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