Colm Cavanagh: Tyrone will not 'abandon' traditional style of play

Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh and Donegal's Eoghan Bán Gallagher
The Ulster SFC semi-final loss to Donegal has forced Tyrone to reassess their tactical approach

Midfielder Colm Cavanagh says Tyrone will not abandon their traditional style of play as they negotiate their way through the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Mickey Harte's side used a more attacking approach early in the Ulster championship but have since reverted to their counter-attacking game.

The qualifier wins against Longford and Kildare were both achieved using a more defensive formation.

"We had to get the qualifiers right early on," said Cavanagh.

"Now we're building. We looked at ourselves after Donegal and said 'that wasn't us' it was one of those games that you're going to have and hopefully that was the blip for this season and we can move on from it."

The Red Hands' Ulster semi-final loss to Donegal seems to have prompted a rethink by Harte as his team reverted to the system that served them so well last season with Cavanagh dropping deep to act as a protective sweeper in front of his full-back line.

Tyrone 'didn't perform' against Donegal

Last year's All-Ireland final defeat by Dublin appeared to have persuaded the Tyrone management that they needed to leave more players in attacking positions until their Ulster championship exit.

"We had to look at ourselves [after Donegal] because we didn't play well as a unit," Cavanagh continued.

"Individually we lost a lot of battles, which was clear and evident, and as a team we just didn't perform and we know that.

"We looked at what we did that day and we had to change it, there was nothing good about that day for us."

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'We are improving every game' - Colm Cavanagh

Cavan are among the four beaten provincial finalists that Tyrone could now face in the final round of qualifiers with a place in the Super 8s at stake.

A return to the quarter-final group stages could prompt another tactical change by Tyrone but Cavanagh insists they will not stray too far from the system that has served them so well up to now.

The two-time All-Star winner added: "We're not going to abandon what we've done over the last number of years after the amount of work that we've spent on it but at the same time we haven't got to be where we want to be either.

"We got to an All-Ireland semi-final and we lost, we got to an All-Ireland final and we lost and there's no guaranteed route back to that.

"We may have to adapt that type of play but we know that we need to do something different because every time we've gone up against Dublin they've turned us over and other teams will be able to do that too so we have to have more than just that one style."

The draw for the fourth round of the All-Ireland qualifiers will take place on Monday, 1 July at 08:30 BST.