Tyrone star gives honest reasons behind disappointing 2022 season
"We were probably at 50%."
Tyrone's Ronan McNamee has given his honest opinion on why last year's disappointing All-Ireland title defence went so wrong so quickly.
From the outside looking in, pundits, former players, and fans could only guess why the 2021 champions looked to be a shadow of themselves just one year on from their triumph.
Some suggested that there was unrest in the camp, others said it was a hangover from the success the year before, but really no one outside of the Tyrone camp actually knows.
Speaking exclusively on The GAA Hour, McNamee shares his honest views on why the 2022 season went so wrong.
"I think we were chasing a bit at the start. It wasn't a case for the want of trying, I think sometimes the harder you try, the worse it gets in some scenarios.
"We had been chasing for so long. Teams had targets on their backs, like any day you went to play the Dubs you were gun-ho going out to beat them, any day you were playing against Kerry, you were gun-ho going out to beat them.
"Then all of a sudden, the target is on your back and it's different. It's completely different to deal with. I think every team struggles to deal with it, the first time round.
"If you look at the Dubs, before they done six-in-a-row, like in 2011 they won it, and in 2012 they lost it. They probably learnt from it after that, and I think every team would be the same.
"If we were lucky enough to win it again, do I think we would address things differently and be mentally in a better place? Of course you would.
"Ultimately last year was massively disappointing because you wanted to back up your All-Ireland with another one, because no Tyrone team has ever done that."
One of the reasons that last year was disappointing, was because Tyrone crashed out of the Ulster championship so early and then lost the game in the qualifiers meaning that they were out of the competition from the early stages.
However, McNamee highlights the point that although these losses were early in the season, they came against two very impressive teams.
"Where we working as hard? We were, but the gap was closing in regards to teams around you. The likes of Derry, we lost to them, they went on to win ulster and got beat in an All-Ireland semi-final by the skin of their teeth.
"Armagh beat us, went on to a quarter final and were beat on penalties, so we were beat by two good teams. Regards to performance wise, we were probably at 50%.
"Why we were at 50% I don't know. Boys weren't going out and purposely being like that, you know what I mean? The bounce of the ball happened the previous year, and that year the bounce of the ball didn't.
"There's loads of aspects you can look at but it was ultimately very disappointing. Hopefully we can learn from it, but we haven't really implemented it the year either."
The Red Hand county also lost out on several big names following the 2021 triumph, including Tiernan McCann, Ronan O'Neill, Mark Bradley, and Paul Donaghy.
Fortunately for Tyrone, plenty of young talent has been brought in, but it isn't a lack of talent that caused last year's misfortunes.
"In regards to the boys who left the panel, there was a lot of boys that left who were massive characters in the changing room. It's not even the footballing ability, I think the young lads who came in have frightening footballing ability.
"I think Tyrone is arguably in the same, if not a better place than where we were in 2021, but the people that you lost in regards to characters was huge.
"They had been there five, six, seven years or more. It's not something you can buy in the shop and drink it, and just go in with experience.
"You have got to learn, and from my debut in 2012, it took me to 2016 to win something and initially find that team coming through.
"Hopefully with these young boys coming in, coming off the back of u20 success, and minor success, they will bring plenty to it and push Tyrone on because there is a lot of talent within the county."
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