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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Peter's loss lamented
Tyrone's influential Peter Canavan.
Peter Canavan (right) was missed by Tyrone
First things first - well done Armagh.

Congratulations to the players, their management team and supporters on two great performances against Tyrone.

The good times are back and Sam is certainly a possibility later in the year.

But once again I find myself trying to explain a Tyrone defeat, and once again the main reason is the loss of Peter Canavan.

Remember the 1996 All Ireland semi-final defeat by Meath? We lost that day mainly because Canavan was taken out.

Remember the 1998 Ulster SFC Prelim defeat in Omagh by Down? Peter was out with a broken jaw.

Remember the 2000 Ulster SFC defeat by Armagh? The injured Peter could only make a late appearance as a substitute. We lost and scored only one point from play.

Without Peter

Remember last summer against Derry at Clones in the All Ireland Quarter-finals? We crumbled after Peter was sent off.

Remember the League game at Donegal in March? Peter was injured and the previously free-scoring Tyrone attack fired blanks.

And here we are all over again - no Peter and we lose to Armagh.

The injury was sustained in the first ten minutes of the drawn game, when I clearly recall the captain's expression saying: "Dammit, I've done something here."

Canavan played through the pain but was unable to even come off the bench in the replay.

McRory and co-manager Eugene McKenna had to do without the services of Peter Canavan.
Tyrone's joint-manager Art McRory

To be fair, the rest of the Tyrone forwards did well without him to score 16 times against a tremendous Armagh defence, but they also wasted a lot of scoring chances.

I lost count of the number of times the ball was either kicked wide or into the arms of Benny Tierney, or when Tyrone forwards rushed their kick.

Richard Thornton's miss at the end of the drawn game is just one glaring example.

Thornton and Cavlan could have been replaced earlier in the replay, and Tyrone's only goal over the two games came from a hit and hope ball to Sean Cavanagh.

Hard Lesson

Hopefully, it is another hard lesson that will stand to this young Tyrone team later in the year.

At the start of the SFC I predicted that Armagh could well burst the bubble, and they did.

However, I also said that they might be better off not spending all their energies on winning Ulster.

Ciaran 'Dinky' McBride makes a similar point:

"Perhaps the best way to All Ireland success is to take Galway's example and step sideways out of the bear pit of Ulster football."

Congratulate

That leaves Armagh in the bear pit along with Fermanagh in the semi-finals and either Derry, Donegal or Down in the Final.

Jarlath Burns was pretty confident on BBC television of Armagh beating Fermanagh, but I'm not so sure.

Finally, I'd like to congratulate John McEntee on his goal and improved performance. I stated before the SFC that Armagh's success "depends on John McEntee delivering".

He did just that on Sunday, even though I see the GAA website credited the goal to his brother Tony!

SHORT PASSES - Kieran McGeeney is well on the way to a third All Star - Oisin McConville's pass for Barry Duffy's goal was illegal - More than 63,000 saw the two games - No-one was red-carded in either game.

Email me: jerome.quinn@bbc.co.uk

See also:

26 May 02 | N Ireland
26 May 02 | N Ireland
27 May 02 | N Ireland
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