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5 talking points after Tyrone swatted aside Armagh to book Dublin showdown

Here’s what we learned from the Red Hand’s big victory over Armagh today.

1. Tyrone blitz their way into semi-finals

TYRONE’S MARGIN OF victory was far easier than expected. They’ve blitzed their way through the competition so far in the championship, winning the four games by an average of 11.5 points to get to the last four of the All-Ireland series.

Sean Cavanagh celebrates with Richael Donnelly after the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

It’s probably unfair to class Tyrone as a ‘defensive’ team. The Red Hand drop 14 bodies behind the ball when they don’t have possession, but they attack with real intent when they turn it over.

Much of the talk around their All-Ireland credentials surrounds the absence of a marquee forward, but scores of 0-22, 1-21, 2-17 and 3-17 suggest they don’t necessarily need one.

Mark Bradley’s intelligence and movement as a long inside forward is one of the most under-rated qualities of Mickey Harte’s team and they’ve got reliable free-takers in Niall Morgan and Sean Cavanagh.

Mark Shields fouls Peter Harte and is black carded Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

2. Mickey Harte’s system goes up against the Dubs

Tyrone’s thrilling draw with Dublin in their league clash back in February was a taster for what’s to come. You get the sense Mickey Harte has been shaping his game-plan with Dublin’s free-wheeling attack in mind.

The Dubs are not as tactically naive as they were when Jim McGuinness hoodwinked them in 2014, but Harte’s system will trouble them. Tyrone completely suffocated the Armagh attack and had enough energy in the legs to pour through for scores at the far end.

The quality of their tackling is outstanding and they won’t give Dean Rock many easy frees to tap over. Dublin will look to use the full width of Croke Park and move Colm Cavanagh from side to side before injecting real pace into their attack with runners from deep.

The footballing philosophies of Gavin and Harte will meet in an epic collision on 27 August. It’s going to be a fascinating spectacle.

David Mulgrew scores his sides second goal despite Niall Grimley and goalkeeper Blaine Hughes Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. David Mulgrew’s stunning impact

David Mulgrew might have been frustrated with Harte’s decision to leave him on the line today, especially after his strong showing in the Ulster final. But Mulgrew certainly reminded his manager of his talents today.

The Arboe man bagged 2-1 in a devastating display, with both goals arriving after lung-bursting runs from deep.

Tyrone tend to run their opponents into the ground for the opening three quarters before they introduce quality ‘closers’ who put the game to bed.

Talented scorers Darren McCurry, Ronan O’Neill and Mulgrew were all on the field by the 51st minute and they enjoyed the open space in the tiring Armagh defence.

James Morgan, Anthony Duffy and Joe McElroy look on dejected as Tyrone score a late point Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. Poor Armagh fail to show up

Tyrone confirmed their status as Ulster’s top dogs this afternoon. Armagh were expected to put up some sort of a fight, but they couldn’t live with Tyrone’s ferocity.

It was a disapointing display by Kieran McGeeney’s side, who looked devoid of an attacking game-plan. They made countless handling errors and miscued passes, although they were under intense pressure by the Red Hand.

Jamie Clarke tried and scored a point but he was well-marshalled by Cathal McCarron and sweeper Colm Cavanagh.

This young Armagh team have made great strides this year, but today’s game showed the enormous road ahead of them if they want to compete with the likes of Tyrone.

Joe McElroy and Sean Cavanagh Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. The upcoming kick-out battle

Tyrone went short almost every time with their kick-outs and Niall Morgan often played them short to a defender before taking the return and moving out with possession.

On the one occasion Tyrone were forced to go long in the first-half when Armagh pressed up, they created a goal chance but Peter Harte took his score. Sean Cavanagh won Morgan’s long restarted and there was an ocean of space for Harte to run into.

Dublin have sought to press high on opposition kick-outs this season and force them to go long. It’s not in Jim Gavin’s style to concede short kick-outs. Tyrone were ravenous on the breaking ball around the middle on Armagh’s long restarts today.

If Dublin force Tyrone to go long in the semi-final, they might risk leaving open country for the lightning-fast Red Hand runners break into. It’s just another interesting side-note heading into the last four clash.

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Harte and Mulgrew bag the goals as Tyrone breeze past Armagh in Croke Park

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