Mickey Harte confident Tyrone have the beating of Derry in Ulster SFC opener
FROM a vantage point where previous Red Hand leaders once surveyed their superiority over much of the rest of Ulster, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte expressed confidence about making a winning start against Derry in this year’s provincial contest.
The Hill of The O’Neill in Dungannon hosted the launch of the Ulster Championships in camogie, ladies’ football, and men’s football, and Harte expects his team to take the first step towards regaining the last of those titles.
Derry did win on their last Championship visit to Omagh, in 2006, shocking the then ‘High Kings’ of Ireland, so Harte certainly isn’t complacent, commenting: “We’d won the All-Ireland in 2005 and Derry came up to Omagh and beat us. I’m a realist – there’s nothing that can’t happen. But I’m also realistic enough to say that we should win this game
“We can go on and be as nice as we want to be about the opposition, and there are good players in Derry – but they are not at the stage of development that we are at, and if they beat us we should not be very happy about that.”
Derry won Division Four earlier this season, but Tyrone were competing in Division One, and finished that campaign strongly, coming close to reaching the final, which is a factor in Harte’s strong belief about their chances:
“Of course they will have confidence about them – but I think we’ll have confidence as well. It’s always a challenge between ourselves and Derry, of course it is – but I believe that we’re good enough to beat them, and we have a home venue.
“Of course they have very good footballers at club level. Half their team is probably from Slaughtneil, who play well together, and are a formidable outfit.
“But at the same time we believe we are good enough to win this game. We played at a higher level right up to this. Believing that doesn’t mean that will happen, but we’ve every reason to believe that we can win this game. There’s no point us going into it thinking any other way.”