Logan using gut and guile to plot Tyrone's path
By John Harrington
If it’s true that to be a good leader you have to be able to delegate effectively, then Feargal Logan is well on the way.
Ego is something neither he nor Brian Dooher have an excess of, otherwise they wouldn’t be working so well in tandem as the joint-managers of the Tyrone team that will contest Saturday’s All-Ireland Final against Mayo.
Logan doesn’t view the Tyrone management team as a two-man band either. As far as he’s concerned a much bigger collective has been behind the Red Hand County’s run to the All-Ireland Final.
“The fundamental is this guys, and I mean it sincerely; It is a collective now,” says Logan.
“One, It is a fairly heavy shift and two, we do have fairly busy jobs, Brian and myself.
“But it is a group. A bit like Kieran’s (Kieran McGeary) speech at the weekend, we are here tonight and there are guys sitting at home analysing videos, the medics who are 24/7. It’s a collective.
“Management is overstated. You are as good as your players but you are also as good as the collective.
“Peter (Canavan), Brian and myself managed the Under-21s. I mean it sincerely when I say it didn’t cost me one iota of thought, really. Because as a team and a panel, you rise together and you fall together. So it doesn’t really matter.
“If Mickey Moynagh (long serving kitman) comes up with the best substitution, and I mean that with the greatest of respect, the longest and best servant of Tyrone football – if Mickey comes up with the winning formula, I am as happy as anybody.”
The reason joint-managers are a rarity in team sport is because there’s a perception it can lead to a dilution of authority or hesitancy when strong leadership is needed most.
For example, if a quick decision needs to be made on the sideline about a potential substitution or switch on Saturday, who will make the final call? Where will the buck stop?
“Listen, the beauty about Croke Park is that you are very close to each other anyway,” says Logan. “But how do we divvy it up? Well, I can see how’s there two of us, put it that way. There’s plenty going on.
"The training sessions, Holmsey (Collie Holmes) Peter (Donnelly) and Joe (McMahon) are coaches and Des McGuinness.
“Brian and myself are involved, but how do we divvy it up? You can ask him independently, but it as close to a straight 50-50 on everything. Which has meant the phone, a Zoom every night. I have been in more contact with Brian that I have been with anybody in football.
“Substitutions and stuff, on Saturday there we are talking to each other, talking to Holmsey and these guys. It’s gut.
“Ok, before a game you sit down and we might talk out scenarios, but you try to stay light on your feet and light in your mind. Then, as it happens, we just do it.”
The Tyrone management structure might be unorthodox, but the nature of the All-Ireland semi-final win over Kerry proved it definitely works.
It was a tactical master-class from the start by Tyrone, and their substitutions played a huge role too in deciding the outcome of the game.
Tyrone make good use of the sports science expertise in their backroom team, but Logan doesn’t mind admitting he believes “the best performance monitor is your gut.”
He trusted his gut against Kerry and he’ll do the same when he devises his plan to take out Mayo in Saturday’s All-Ireland Final.
“To be honest, overall my gut would be to go at it, the same way we went after every other single game,” he said.
“Overall, that’s my gut. Of course, you would love to embrace it. You’d love the families there, the spirit of it. Maybe I am more nervous and anxious than Mickey (Harte) is with three All-Irelands under his belt. That’s not anything to Mickey there.
“But my thinking is, let’s get the head down and see if we can win this, because I have been that soldier that came out the wrong end and it is not easy rectified.”