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GAA Football

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte slams 'negative' pundits

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.

TYRONE manager Mickey Harte has called pundits that constantly focus on the negatives in football “sad” and says they should “look on the bright side of life”.

And the Red Hand boss says that his side owe it to Meath to take the benefit from a brilliant game in Navan and push on through the rest of the All-Ireland series.

There wasn’t much complaining about the fare on offer on Saturday evening as Andy McEntee’s side came within seconds of landing the knockout blow on Tyrone at what would have been the earliest point during Harte’s 16-year reign.

Cathal McShane notched a cool equaliser five-and-a-half minutes into stoppage time though, and thanks to a Harry Loughran goal in the first period of extra-time, the Ulster side escaped with a one-point win to set up a round two meeting with Carlow.

It’s not the first time Harte has felt he’s needed to defend himself this year but in light of the recent comments made by Sean Cavanagh, and subsequently Gavin Devlin, it seemed most pertinent this time.

“I always said people are entitled to their opinion and if that’s how they feel, they can share that with whoever they like.

“I’m happy to stand on my own two feet and I’m happy to do things the way we try to do them, for the betterment of Tyrone football and the players we have at our disposal.

“If somebody thinks differently, that’s their prerogative to do so. I’m very happy with the way we’re putting our team together and how we play football.

“I don’t think anyone can complain about the excitement out there today. Every game isn’t going to be classic football.

“People say about defensive football and low-scoring games – would you rather have a low-scoring game where you don’t know the outcome until the end, or would you rather have somebody down by anything from 12 to 20 points at half-time. You’ll only sleep in the second half of that match.

“Is that more exciting than a game that’s defensive, but quality defensive? I don’t believe so.

“Some of the people that are spouting about that seem to have an agenda which is negative, and they just seem to be sad people who are negative all the time.

“Maybe they should look in the mirror and brighten up a wee bit, and look on the bright side of life.”

Meath had come in off the backdrop of a disappointing defeat by Longford, but even in that performance there were elements that suggested they’d make life very difficult for their Division One visitors.

Tyrone could have been out the gate at half-time after Connor McAliskey, who finished the day with 1-8, hit the bar and pulled another chance wide, while Padraig McNulty saw a great opportunity saved by Andrew Colgan.

“It was a fight to the death and we really didn’t need to make it that hard for ourselves on a couple of occasions,” said Harte.

“That’s credit to Meath as well, many teams would have lay down when we got in the ascendancy as we did at least two times in that game.

“They didn’t, they fought the whole way. Whichever team came out of them, they should be the better for it. I hope we do the honour to Meath of doing well because we got through this very tight encounter.

“Any team that has a good and successful run, they meet a lot of challenges and some dangerous situations. They either get through them and benefit from it, or they go out. We’ve been in both places.

“We’ve been in places where we’ve been very close to being better than we were but we got knocked out, and we’ve been in places when it’s been touch and go.

“The last time we were in Navan was against Louth in the qualifiers and it went to extra-time, and we were fortunate to get a draw and take them back to Omagh. We’re glad we don’t have to take Meath back anywhere.”

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