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How much will Paddy Tally's appointment as Down boss hurt Galway?

Tally was widely praised for the role he played with Kevin Walsh’s squad this season.

FORMER TYRONE MIDFIELDER Kevin Hughes says Down’s decision to name Paddy Tally as their new manager is a “brilliant appointment” for the county.

Paddy Tally Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Tyrone native was confirmed as Eamonn Burns’s replacement last night and his management ticket includes Benny Coulter, Gavin McGilly and Stephen Beattie.

Tally has an extensive CV in coaching, having first come to prominence as part of Mickey Harte’s backroom team when his native county lifted the All-Ireland title in 2003.

He was involved as coach with Down on their surprise run to the 2010 All-Ireland while he led teaching college St Mary’s to the Sigerson Cup title in 2017. More recently, Tally played a key role in Kevin Walsh’s management team with Galway this season as they reached the All-Ireland semi-final for the first time in 17 years.

Hughes played under Tally for Tyrone’s maiden Sam Maguire success and believes he has all the tools make a success of his first senior inter-county job.

“Paddy was with us in ’03 and the players thought a lot of him at the time,” says Hughes.

“It was probably the first big change we had seen from our minor and U21 days, there was a lot of strength and conditioning going on and even with your diet, Paddy had a knowledge of all that.

“He was great at training, because every night you went to training you did something new, something fresh. The thing about it is making that change from a coach/trainer to the main man and manager.

Mickey Harte and Paddy Tally with the Sam Maguire Mickey Harte and Paddy Tally with the Sam Maguire in 2003 Source: INPHO

“He’s going to have to step back and let someone else do the training because definitely at county level you can’t combine both of them. But he has a bit of experience with St Mary’s and a bit of success with St Mary’s where he was the main man. So, look I think Paddy will do a great job, he has a great backroom team with Benny Coulter there, Stephen Beattie and Gavin McGilly.

“The problem with Down is getting their best players out on the field. County champions Kilcoo only had one player involved last year and they really should have had more. So there’s something not right there and I think Paddy will be able to get everybody out.”

Hughes does believe Tally’s departure is a major blow to Galway, who made significant strides this season. Tally was headhunted by Galway boss Kevin Walsh and was a huge hit with the players.

The Tribesmen shed their ’nice guys’ tag and much of that was put down to Tally’s influence.

Back in April, Tribe forward Shane Walsh heaped praise on Tally.

“Paddy is a sound fella, really and truly, he’s adding a different voice in the dressing room,” Walsh said.

“Paddy just brings that other aspect, his own individual aspect to our set up. He’s not from around Galway so you couldn’t say he’s a traditionalist in the way he sets up. He brings his own approach to things. He brings his own knowledge. He’s a lecturer, so he’s a smart man too.”

Hughes could see Tally’s fingerprints all over Galway’s style of play in 2018.

“I think we can appreciate looking at Galway moreso his influence,” continues Hughes.

“Bar what the perception was out there and how defensive they were, they just got a structure in place. Galway, a bit like Down, are renowned for playing this flowing football. The thing with Galway was it was accepted that you can go out to play nice football and if you’re beat, you’re beat.

Benny Coulter celebrates after the game Benny Coulter is part of Tally's backroom team. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“But the thing with Paddy, he came in to get a structure in place, he just knows how to set up defensively. Then he would progress that. I think it’s a bit like Donegal in 2011, like in 2010 and 2009 Donegal were way off the pace. Jim (McGuinness) came in and just got a structure in place and how horrible it looked, it was just getting the boys a bit of confidence. ‘Right we can mind the house and we know what to do’.

“Then you’ve seen them in 2012, they progressed on from a defensive to an offensive counter-attacking system. We all seen how that panned out. So Paddy will do that first time around, he’ll need a couple of years to get those players to that way of thinking, but I think he’s a brilliant appointment for them.”

The defensive style of football Tally likes to employ has drawn plenty of negative commentary, with Joe Brolly one of the most vocal critics of his time with Derry. Tally was coach with the Oak Leafers during Brian McIver’s reign in charge of the county.

Joe Brolly wrote in the Sunday Independent back in April: “Tyrone’s Paddy Tally came in as the coach to our manager, Tyrone’s Brian McIvor, and turned us from a footballing county with a glorious tradition of inconsistency and classy, maverick players, into an automated blanket defensive system where self-expression was banned.”

Kevin Hughes Brian McGuigan and Kevin Hughes teamed to announce the documentary TÍR EOGHAIN: THE UNBREAKABLE BOND, airing this Sunday August 26th at 8.30pm on TG4, which tells the story of how Mickey Harte's minor teams of 1997 and 1998, despite the despairing lows, went on to drive their county to three All Ireland senior titles. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Brian McGuigan, who also played under Tally in Tyrone, believes the new Down boss won’t pay any heed to that sort of criticism.

“He got a lot of abuse the way Galway went,” says McGuigan.

“But I think that was doing a disservice to Kevin Walsh. Because Kevin Walsh at the end of the day was the boss and if he didn’t like the way Paddy was approaching the game, then he didn’t have to go with it.

“Paddy will not worry. I think the big thing with Brolly and these fellas, they know every team is defensive but it’s about how you go forward when you have the ball. As Kevin says, it will take Paddy a few years to get that right. There’ll be a period next year when it’s just about getting the right people involved.

“Probably just settled defensively, how they want to go. Then maybe the following year they’ll get to attack. Benny will help in the attacking play. Likewise what Stephen O’Neill has done with Tyrone this year.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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