Logan and Dooher bask in 'pure relief'
By Paul Keane
Five Championship match wins later and an All-Ireland success that few outside of Tyrone predicted, Feargal Logan has admitted that his modest ambition for 2021 was simply to win a single game.
Logan and Brian Dooher took over as joint managers of Tyrone last November and, just like predecessor Mickey Harte in his first year in charge in 2003, the duo guided the county to the ultimate prize.
In truth, few saw it coming with holders Dublin and Kerry, who shared the Allianz League title, installed as the pre-tournament favourites.
Slowly but surely Tyrone's odds dropped, however, firstly after winning the Ulster title and then after knocking Kerry out of the Championship in a memorable All-Ireland semi-final tie. They finished the job this evening with a five-point win over Mayo to etch their names in the history books.
"My starting ambition, without declaring it to Brian, was just to win one match," admitted Logan. "We managed to do that as Tyrone managers and then it just progressed from there. We had no big plans or targets to be honest that way.
"We just mucked in, night after night, and saw where it led us and it was fairly up and down but it's ended happily with Tyrone as All-Ireland champions and players who have been battle hardened and who have committed their life's cause to it, who are outstanding footballers, have been rewarded. I'm so delighted that they've got All-Ireland medals because it's something special.
"Pure relief, is my thoughts. I suppose it's always that way in finals maybe but just pure relief that we got over the line and that the players dug in again.
"There was some last ditch defending and they came out of it winners of the All-Ireland, it's just relief and gladness that everything that has passed has passed and we've done the business on the football field here, so just delighted, and delighted for Brian by my side, and the coaching that has gone on with Holmesy (Colin Holmes), Pete (Donnelly) and Joe (McMahon), it's just outstanding and it was all evident out there today."
Dooher was captain of Tyrone when they previously won the All-Ireland in 2008 so takes his place among an elite group who have played in and managed wins at the very highest level.
It was put to Dooher that inter-county management appears to be easy given his and Logan's 100% success rate.
"That's one way of putting it," smiled Dooher. "Ah it's hectic, it consumes everything, it consumes every waking minute. You haven't much time to be honest for anything else but that's the position we put ourselves into and that's what we've signed up for.
"It doesn't always work out but today it did work out for us. We have to give credit to the players. They went out there and it mightn't have been pretty at times but they dug deep and put their bodies on the line.
"They did it time and time again this year and we can't ask for any more from them. That's all we do ask of them whenever they go out."
As the game neared its conclusion with Tyrone inching closer to the win, Logan admitted his main thought was avoiding any goal concessions as Mayo threw the kitchen sink at it.
"No goals, no goals was the big thing," he said. "Then there comes a tipping point when you're on the line and you're thinking, 'You know what, we might be home'. But then you're even afraid to think that because we've all had our shocks in football matches so no goals was the big thing and just seeing who was out on their feet? And had we anybody left to put in? It was just the same principles that apply to all matches really."