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Tyrone defender Liam Rafferty. 
Tyrone defender Liam Rafferty. 

Rafferty backs Tyrone to challenge Dublin in 2020

By John Harrington

Tyrone defender Liam Rafferty believes the current generation of Red Hand County footballers are good enough to win the All-Ireland title.

Tyrone were beaten in the 2018 Final by Dublin and pushed Kerry all the way in last year’s semi-final, but Rafferty reckons they have the raw ability to stop Dublin’s bid for a sixth All-Ireland title in a row in 2020.

“Yeah, of course, you have to believe that you can match the likes of Dublin,” said Rafferty. “Obviously they're an amazing team. They've made history. But in Tyrone we feel that we're not that far away.

“The semi-final against Kerry this year, we should have won that game, we believe, and we could have been back into another All-Ireland Final.

“I think we've developed from 2018 when we got to the Final even though we didn't get back to the Final this year. And I think there's more development to be done this year.”

Tigerish defender Rafferty impressed for Tyrone in his rookie Championship season this year but reckons he still has lots of room for improvement.

“It’s brilliant to be involved with Tyrone and I suppose I got a considerable amount of game-time,” he says. “It was okay, but you're never satistified, you always want to do better.

“The year I came in was the year after they got to the All-Ireland Final. Brilliant, like. It's just about pushing on and trying to achieve more.

“The ultimate goal is to win an All-Ireland. We have more young lads coming in and there's always going to be serious competition for places and that's what you want because that's how you improve as a player with the competition in training.”

Liam Rafferty will be a key player for St. Mary's College in the 2020 Sigerson Cup. 
Liam Rafferty will be a key player for St. Mary's College in the 2020 Sigerson Cup. 

Rafferty believes his form for St Mary’s in last year’s Sigerson Cup competition gave him the impetus to break into the Tyrone team.

He remains a key players for the Belfast side who reached last year’s Sigerson Cup Final, and he's hopeful they can challenge hard for silverware again this year despite a tricky opening round tie away to Maynooth.

“Every team has serious quality players so there's never an easy game,” says Rafferty. “I suppose you would be hoping for a home draw. Unfortunately we didn't get it this time. I guess the same as last year, on the road again.

“Last year we were away to NUIG in the first round. So back to Maynooth, we actually played them last year and it was a great battle, a real tough game. But we were lucky enough to get over the line the last day.”

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