GAA Football

Peter Harte wary of Carlow dangers

Tyrone's Peter Harte is wary of the threat that Carlow will pose in Saturday's round two qualifier. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Francis Mooney

PETER Harte has admitted he has serious concerns over Saturday’s All-Ireland Qualifier clash with Carlow.

Tyrone are fearful they may fall victim to an upset at the hands of a team that has been playing its league football three divisions below them.

The Barrowside revolution has won many hearts throughout the country, and Turlough O’Brien’s colourful army is ready to throw itself fearlessly into another battle.

“It’s pure championship, its knockout, it’s do or die and it’s the same for both teams,” said Harte.

“We know that if we don’t perform we will be in trouble as Carlow have shown that they are good enough to beat anybody on their day. We want to stay in this championship, stay in the race and it’s just about us preparing well this week and come Saturday be ready to go.”

Carlow’s rise over the past couple of seasons has been built upon a solid and well organised defensive system.

They’re likely to set up in familiar fashion at Netwatch Cullen Park, prompting a more offensive approach than normal from the Red Hands.

“That’s the way that they play and I know that people say that we played like that in the past, so we are going to try and have to counteract that and get our scores, and we know that we are going to have to work very hard and we know what is ahead of us.”

Harte, who returns to the side after missing the extra-time win over Meath due to suspension, insists the Tyrone attack must seize upon every opportunity and be ruthless in front of the posts.

“Football now, maybe more so than before, is about being clinical. I think in one of Carlow’s games they had a 94% record in taking their chances and that is the standard that some teams are setting in County football.

“So if you get chances, especially against teams that are defensive, you need to be taking those opportunities because games change so quickly. That Meath game that we were playing well in for long periods, at the end we were chasing it and if they had scored that free that they got just before our late score it could have been lights out so we are fully aware of that.”

The Errigal Ciaran man has been an interested observer of a Carlow journey that has taken them to a Leinster Championship win over Kildare, via promotion to Division Three of the NFL.

“Up here we have all noticed that they have had a lot of headlines and they have a lot of good players and they all seem to be singing of the same hymn sheet.

“Things are going well for them down there as they have had four or five championship wins in the last two years so they are definitely a team on the up and we certainly can’t afford to take them for granted.”

Tyrone will channel all their resources and attentions into this weekend’s sudden death tie, but they will also remain mindful of the demands of an intensive schedule they will be forced to follow should they progress along the Qualifier route and into the Super 8s.

“I think the last day we used something like 23 players over the course of the game, and then you have the players who got injured the first day against Monaghan to come back in as well.

“For us to go where we want to go we are going to need everybody and that is not just a turn of phrase, I really think that we are going to need every man fit and on the field.

“We know the calibre of players that we have within the squad and Mickey has never been afraid to throw players in who maybe don’t have the most experience come big championship days.

“Everyone is pushing to try and get their place on the team first of all and if you don’t and you get a chance to impact a match you go on and do that and try and get in the next day. That’s what the boys have done during the Meath game and since that at training so it bodes well for us.”

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