Disappointed Tyrone manager Mickey Harte takes positives from loss to Dublin
THERE were plenty of positives, but no ‘Super 8’ points, for Tyrone on Saturday night and that left Mickey Harte “hugely disappointed” on the one hand.
On the other, the Tyrone manager was encouraged by a neversaydie performance from his side over 80-odd competitive minutes against reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin.
“It could have been a much worse day in terms of the scoreboard,” said Harte after the three-point loss at Healy Park.
“We battled well for a long period of the game, then a goal was always going to be a major score in that kind of tight battle, and they got it unfortunately.
“And that put us on the back foot for a period of time, and they looked in total control.
“But I think it’s great credit to our boys that they dug in, they fought back and they got to within two points, and I suppose even the free at the end there, if we had scored that free, would have made it an even more tight battle to the end.
“Obviously we’re not happy with the outcome or the result, and we’re not looking about moral victories: ‘Oh, you pushed them close’ or ‘you ran them close’. It wasn’t about that.
“We intended to win this game. We felt we were capable of winning the game, and we didn’t win it, so when that happens, you’re hugely disappointed.
“The only saving grace is it doesn’t knock us out of the championship altogether. We have another chance, and it’s not often you would lose a game at this time of the year, an All-Ireland quarter-final, and still have another chance.”
Harte, who explained that the decision to narrow the playing surface at Healy Park had come about after a request from SKY Sports, now has a fortnight to prepare his troops for their final, crucial, group game.
With the Dubs now through to the semi-finals, next up for Tyrone is a do-or-die derby battle with neighbours Donegal in Ballybofey on August 5.
“If we go and perform well in Ballybofey and get a result there, then we can say this was a great match for us, in preparation for that,” said Harte.
“But, that has to be done yet so until we arrive in Ballybofey and arrive out of it with a result, then we won't be able to say much about that.
“It is a very difficult place to go and they have a huge record up there, haven't been beaten in so many years. But you know what? I am glad we have the chance to go because any other year we would be waiting on the McKenna Cup now and at least we have the chance to play in an All-Ireland quarter-final which essentially is what all these games are.
“It's not often you get to play in three All-Ireland quarter-finals in one season but we are getting it now. If we can come in second of these quarter-finals it would put us in the semi-finals and that would be a really great result if we could do it.”