By Niall Gartland
TYRONE player Frank Burns has lifted the lid on their metamorphosis to a more attack-minded team ahead of Saturday’s Division One clash against Kerry in Killarney.
The Pomeroy clubman confirms that the external impression that major changes are being made under the new management – though he also accepts that it’s made life less straightforward for their defenders who were perhaps accustomed to safety in numbers during the Mickey Harte era.
Burns, who started all three of Tyrone’s group stage matches, says that the game itself is evolving for the better with blanket defences no longer deemed fit for purpose.
He said: “We’re playing a different style of football than we have been over the last few years.
“We’re playing a lot more attacking football. Our defenders are under more pressure at the back, there’s a lot more space in front of them.
It’s not too hard to work that one out from watching the way we’re playing, so we need to be careful, because we’re exposed at the back.
“Football is coming round. You hear everybody talking now about how Gaelic is now better to watch nearly than the hurling.
“It was nearly boring people to watch Gaelic over the last few years, with numbers sitting back all the time, although you still have that at certain times in games.
“But there’s definitely more free-flowing football. Teams are playing three, four forwards up the pitch.
“Football is definitely in a good place, and we’re playing a more attacking style of football this year.”
Burns does point out that they did try to make changes in the final years of Harte’s tenure in response to some disappointing defeats to All-Ireland champions Dublin.
“When I came into the county squad, Tyrone were a defensive team. That was just the way Ulster football was at the time.
“You sorta had to play that way, and it won us Ulster titles. Then we went up against Dublin and they knew how to break this defensive system down, so we had to move on from that.
See today’s Ulster Herald for our full interview with Frank Burns