Mickey Harte: Everyone will want Tyrone to stick it to Dublin
MICKEY Harte believes it is not only the people of Tyrone who will want the Red Hands to push Dublin all the way in next month’s All-Ireland final – but the GAA public at large.
The all-conquering Dubs will be targeting a fourth Sam in-a-row, having booked their place in the decider with a straightforward semi-final win over Galway on Saturday night.
They will find Tyrone in the opposite corner on September 2 after the Red Hands just about came through an absorbing clash with Ulster rivals Monaghan yesterday, hanging on to win by a single point.
Dublin will go into the decider as strong favourites to successfully defend their title again. And, after last year’s heavy semi-final defeat to the Dubs, Harte feels the onus is now on his men to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again in three weeks’ time.
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“The public need it and Tyrone people need it to make us take a bite at this final,” he said.
“We haven't great memories of our semi-final against Dublin here last year so we need to be so much better than that. If we are it should be a much better game and who knows what could happen?
“We feel we underperformed and I am sure Dublin performed to a high level, so I think a combination of those two things and that was unfortunate because nobody wants to come to a big match and know the result at half time.
“That doesn’t please anybody- except the team in the position to win. It doesn’t please the rest of the country. So we would like to think we can be part of a good All-Ireland final and if we do our very best I think we should be in touching distance of Dublin.”
The adrenaline was still pumping through Harte’s veins in the moments after a tense finale, but the Ballygawley man’s overriding emotion appeared to be relief having brought Tyrone back to an All-Ireland final after 10 years of hurt.
“I feel for Monaghan, of course, because we have been there four times in the last five years,” he continued.
“We have lost our previous four [semi-finals] so we are well aware of how they feel and I have to empathise with them about that, but we needed this so badly.
“Ten years is a long time and on our fifth attempt to get to the final we felt as a group we needed to be in this final. Thanks be to God we are there.”