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20th Jul 2018

‘Pillar’ Caffrey reveals all the Dublin players were after Ryan McMenamin at Battle of Omagh

Michael Corry

The Paddy Power GAA Hour live show made its way to Omagh last night to preview this weekend’s penultimate Super 8 clash between Tyrone and Dublin.

A boisterous Tyrone crowd were treated to a host of great laughs and tales of old, courtesy of some legends of the game from the Red Hand county as well as a few Dubs to boot.

The first part of the show was dedicated to the infamous ‘Battle of Omagh’. The now legendary skirmish that took place during the opening game of the National League in 2006.

Tyrone had toppled Dublin in the previous season’s quarter-finals, en route to claiming their second All-Ireland title. Two pulsating encounters that will be remembered for THAT goal from Owen Mulligan.

The Dubs travelled to Omagh on that Sunday hell-bent on testing the metal of a team who carried a fearsome reputation with them. Two All-Ireland titles, coupled with some memorable battles with Kerry and Armagh, in particular, had instilled a vision of this Tyrone team as the enemy of Gaelic football.

Both teams were highly charged from the get-go. The game itself was of a poor standard and is remembered only for the events that took place off the ball.

12 years have now passed and those involved can look back on the incident with a smile and a joke. Indeed, it was great to hear those who were on opposing sides that day share some anecdotes about what went on within each camp, both before and after.

Pillar Caffrey was Dublin manager at the time, entering into his second season and still hurting over the previous years defeat to Tyrone, he worked hard to get his players up for the game. He wasn’t the only one riled up though.

He relayed a story to the crowd about one of his backroom staff who was so pent up, he gave the Dublin players orders about one Tyrone man in particular.

“I was doing my final team talk and the 15 starting players around me, and we’re in the shower area. Just as I’m finishing up, one of my backroom team pushed me out of the way and said, remember everything f****** Pillar said and when the row kicks off, see your man, he’s to get f****** thumped by everybody.”

Who was he talking about I hear you say? Do you really need to be told though? Despite there being a few players on that Tyrone side known for their ‘questionable’ methods, none of them stood out more than this man.

They were indeed talking about current Fermanagh assistant Ryan ‘Ricey’ McMenamin. The teak-tough defender was known throughout his career for his sharp tongue and his short temper, but most of all for his fantastic playing abilities.

A great night spent in Omagh, which has really got pulses racing ahead of this weekends crunch tie. Someone is booking their spot in this years last four. Will it be Tyrone? or will it be Dublin?

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