McGoldrick Preview: Tyrone -vs- Sligo

Mickey Harte
Mickey Harte

Mickey Harte owes Sligo a good turn!

Back in 2002 Sligo caused a major upset when they defeated Tyrone, who had won the Ulster title the previous summer, in the final round of the qualifiers.

The loss almost certainly cost Tyrone’s joint manager Art McRory and Eugene McKenna their jobs. However, their departure cleared the way for Mickey Harte’s appointment as the new team boss and the rest is history.

Current Sligo captain Mark Breheny featured in that clash 13 years ago and he will be hoping that history can repeat itself.  Psychologically, though, this is a giant sized task for Sligo after their record 26 point mauling in the Connacht final.

Sligo only crumb of comfort from that debacle was the fact that they scored 2-11. Were they to record a similar tally in Croke Park it would probably be sufficient to give them victory. Needless to say a major overhaul of their defensive system is required, though in the time frame available there is only so much team boss Niall Carew can do to shore up his back line.

Tyrone won two of their three All-Ireland titles via the backdoor and it’s amazing how momentum garnered on a run through the qualifiers can sustained a team.  Nobody is suggesting that Mickey Harte’s latest creation is capable of winning the 2015 All-Ireland. But one suspects they would love to get a crack at newly crowned Ulster champions in the quarter finals.

Unless Galway beat Donegal, Tyrone – provided, of course, they beat Sligo - will face Monaghan in the last eight.

Sean Cavanagh makes his 77th championship appearance for Tyrone making him the fifth most capped GAA player of all time according to the best  available list of championship appearances.

Even though Tyrone was relegated from Division 1 they are used to playing at a higher standard than Sligo who failed to win promotion from Division 3. Better still Tyrone has momentum which ought to see them through to the last eight with something to spare.

Verdict: Tyrone.

Tyrone v Sligo, Croke Park, 4.00pm. Extra Time in the event of a draw, Saturday, August 1, Live on Sky.