Tyrone v Armagh: Orchard legend McConville backs Red Hands to win Healy Park game


Tyrone's Darren McCurry in possession against Galway
Tyrone lost their group opener to Galway but played most of the match with 14 men
Venue: Healy Park, Omagh Date: Saturday, 3 June Throw-in: 19:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio Foyle; match report and highlights on BBC Sport website

Armagh legend Oisin McConville believes Tyrone will “probably” win the eagerly-anticipated All-Ireland round-robin game with his native county at Healy Park on Saturday.

While Armagh opened their All-Ireland campaign with an unconvincing one-point win over Westmeath on Saturday, Tyrone need points after defeat by Galway.

Despite that loss in Salthill, McConville feels Tyrone are on the “right road” as they look to re-establish themselves as serious Sam Maguire contenders after a poor 2022.

When asked who will win Saturday’s game in Omagh on this week’s GAA Social Extra, McConville said: “Having seen the two teams in the first two games, probably Tyrone.”

Tyrone are coming off the back of a three-point loss to last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway in a game which saw the Red Hands reduced to 14 men after Frank Burns’ 19th-minute red card.

Tyrone, the 2021 All-Ireland champions, also dropped out of Ulster at the first hurdle with a dramatic loss to Monaghan but condemned Armagh to relegation when the counties met in Division One earlier this year.

“I think Armagh will respond [after a sub-par display against Westmeath] but I think there was something about that performance in defeat from Tyrone against Galway,” added 2002 All-Ireland winner McConville.

“It’s a bigger weekend for Tyrone than it is for Armagh. The reason why I think that is because if you’re starting to think you’ve recovered well and getting things together.

“Like I thought they looked really fresh against Galway. If Tyrone were to lose another one, I know the chances are they’ll beat Westmeath and go through but I think this will be a massive one to lose.

“Because I think they believe they’re on the right road and I also think that. It should be a cracker.”

McConville also indicated that a big performance against arch-rivals Tyrone would help Armagh overcome the criticism they have faced after losing the Ulster final on penalties to Derry and narrowly beating Westmeath at home.

McConville added: “Armagh are looking to bounce back. They’ll be upset with the criticism from the weekend, from the Ulster final and the performance last weekend.

“They’re coming up against Tyrone who feel they’re back as serious challengers.”

McConville would be ‘shocked’ to see Dublin regain Sam

Dublin's Brian Howard is challenged by Roscommon's Diarmuid Murtaugh
Dublin failed to lay down an early marker in the All-Ireland series as they were held at home by Roscommon

But while McConville reckons Tyrone may have a say in the latter stages of the All-Ireland series, the Wicklow manager said he would be “shocked” to see Dublin regain the Sam Maguire Cup.

The Dubs walked to another Leinster title this year but drew their Group Three opener with Roscommon at Croke Park on Sunday.

Dublin are looking to return to the top of the pile for the first time since completing their historic six-in-a-row in 2020, but McConville does not view Dessie Farrell’s side as genuine contenders.

“Shocked,” was his response when asked if he would be surprised to see a Dublin triumph.

“You keep expecting them to put in this massive performance but I don’t think they have the capabilities of putting a run together to win it.

“I think they can take anybody out like. They’ll do damage – if they come up against a Galway in a one-off they could win it, but I just feel like they don’t have what it takes to put that run of four or five games together that will win them an All-Ireland.

“I feel there’s always poor performance around the corner and they’re just struggling a bit in a few positions at the minute.

“Even defensively, they’re trying to protect that full-back line. They played [against Roscommon] with two sweepers but they were very advanced.

“There’s still the chance of a ball in over the top. Some of the Ulster teams would do a lot of damage to Dublin, Galway would damage and in particular Kerry.”


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