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Ryan Byrne/INPHO Tyrone's Cathal McShane celebrates after the semi-final.
# Powerhouse
Should Tyrone start McShane in the All-Ireland final?
It’s one of the biggest talking points heading into Saturday’s decider.

AFTER ENDURING A long road back from an ankle injury that required two separate surgeries in 2020, Cathal McShane finally looked back to his best in Tyrone’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Kerry.

The 2019 All-Star shot 1-3 off the bench in inspire the Red Hand to their first final appearance in three years.

Mayo’s opponents have raised a green flag with their first score in four All-Ireland deciders since 2012, so there’s a good argument for starting McShane and going for the jugular early. 

Joint-managers Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan now face a dilemma: do they throw McShane into the fray from the start, or stick with him in the impact sub role?

Speaking on the latest episode of The42 GAA Weekly, Kerry legend Marc Ó Sé believes the correct decision is to hold the Owen Roes man in reserve.

“I’d have Cathal McShane on the bench,” he said. “You need to have something up your sleeve for this game and keep Mayo guessing. You need to have a situation whereby you’re going down the stretch and you have this talented fella to come in and do the job.

“I’ve seen it down through the years with the Kerry teams. It’s something that Páidí used to really go after. He had Mike Frank Russell coming off the bench in ’97. He was used very effectively against Cavan, he got a goal in that All-Ireland semi-final.

“In 2000, Maurice Fitzgerald was coming off the bench and funnily enough if Fitzgerald had stayed on in 2002 I think we would have won the All-Ireland. You have to have somebody (to come in).

“You’ve seen it in Jim Gavin’s era with Dublin and the talent he’s had coming off the bench. He used to call them the finishers.

“Cathal McShane of course, he wants to start. I’ve no doubt about that. But from a Tyrone point of view I think it’s a really clever more for them if they start with (Conor) McKenna, (Mattie) Donnelly and (Darren) McCurry.

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“He’s a huge option to come in then. McKenna whilst we spoke about him last week and he got two goals but again he was relatively quiet,” Ó Sé continues.

“So there could be a bit of pressure on him but I just think McShane if you bring him off the bench he is going to have an impact.

“If you start him, Mayo are going to have a gameplan for him. They possibly are going to have a gameplan for him anyway, regardless if he starts or comes off the bench. I just think when the game opens up, after 45 minutes there’s Cathal McShane coming in and it’s a different ball game then. I’d start him on the bench.”

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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