Feargal Logan shares delight and appreciation after Tyrone’s ‘horrendous’ month

‘Two weeks ago we were potentially out of the competition and that’s the relief I feel’

Kerry’s Tommy Walsh collides with  Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Kerry’s Tommy Walsh collides with Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Feargal Logan knows how to put the best foot forward. He knows that even after a game like that, even after all the to-and-fro you could ever want out of a semi-final, the first thing on people’s minds would be that Tyrone got every bit of value for the extra time they were given to prepare here. We didn’t even ask him about it, yet it was the first thing out of his mouth.

“The reaction is we were treated very fairly by the Association and we were more than appreciative of all that we got when ill health struck our camp. We’re more than thankful on that. If we say more than that it sounds as though you’re patronising and All-Ireland semi-finals are very sore defeats.

“But two weeks ago we were potentially out of the competition and that’s the relief I feel. I have to commend everyone – Kerry, everyone in the association who bore with us – and the Tyrone players who represented the county today with distinction.

“Resilience is born out of adversity. As I sit here I say absolutely sincerely that the last month for Tyrone football has been horrendous. Of course that brings with it a narrative and different slants are put on things that can cause all sorts of emotions and upset.

“We got back on the football field about a week ago and it worked. It did work and that’s going to be the collateral issue that surrounds something like that. We’re just delighted to be heading to an All-Ireland final.”

Logan had missed the Ulster final and had been forced to watch it in his livingroom, wired for sound with his co-manager Brian Dooher. “The livingroom was hard, but it was harder getting this man [Dooher] to listen to me. It was great to be here in the flesh and I’m delighted we got over the line.”

Tyrone’s Ronan McNamee with a tearful Kieran McGeary after the game. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Tyrone’s Ronan McNamee with a tearful Kieran McGeary after the game. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

In a game of tiny margins, the Tyrone replacements made a huge difference. Cathal McShane ended the day with 1-3. Darragh Canavan was a livewire presence at a time when everyone else on the pitch seemed to be running in treacle.

“That’s Brian’s job really,” Logan said. “If you win, the substitutions are brilliant. If you lose, it goes the other way. They had an impact – Canavan puts a fizz in it when he gets on. You’re balancing the odds. It got that bad we were thinking of penalty takers as subs. We’re just delighted it worked out.”

For Peter Keane, his third year in charge ends in defeat, just as the other two did. Kerry looked nothing like the All-Ireland favourites they had been before the game. Their vaunted forward unit created goal chances but never took them. They head back to Kerry without an All-Ireland for the seventh year running.

“It’s a quiet dressingroom. Fellas are very disappointed. Obviously we came here today with an ambition to get to the All-Ireland final and that’s eluded us, so there’s a lot of disappointment,” said Keane.

“It’s very soon after the game and one of the things we’d been doing throughout the year has been scoring goals. I think we had four opportunities today and didn’t come home with anything. You look at Tyrone, they had three opportunities and came away with three. We had something like 33 shots at the posts and what did we get, 22 points?”

For all that they didn’t perform, Kerry were, to say the least, unlucky with how this all panned out. They offered Tyrone the extension and paid the price for their magnanimity. So it goes. Keane was at pains not to reach for the excuse, easy though it would be to do so.

“Obviously you set out with an overall plan at the start of the year and you have to deviate from it,” said Keane. “We originally thought we’d have a three-week window. Then it was becoming a four-week window, then it became a five-week window. That’s not offering up excuses here today.”

Do you feel aggrieved?

“Yerra, I’m not going there.”

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