GAA Football

Cork a different animal to last year's one-sided encounter: Tyrone boss Mickey Harte

Graham Canty reaches the ball ahead of Tyrone's Brian McGuigan in the 2009 All-Ireland semi-final
Francis Mooney

MICKEY Harte has warned that Cork won’t roll over as tamely as they did last year when they met Tyrone in the final round of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.

It was a humiliating afternoon at Portlaoise as the Rebels were beaten out the gate of O’Moore Park by a rampant Red Hand side.

A sixteen points hammering brought the Munster side’s season to an abrupt and painful end as the Ulster men marched on with a 3-20 to 0-13 success.

But Tyrone boss Harte expects to have a much tougher nut to crack in Saturday’s Super 8s round two tie at Croke Park, where Cork ran the Dubs close for an hour last weekend.

“I don’t expect it to be anything like it was last year,” he said.

“Cork are very good footballers, their league position is no reflection of the quality of players that they possess.

“So yes, this is their shot at redemption, if you like. They’re in the last eight, and they’ll want to do very well in it.”

Ronan McCarthy’s side will have taken heart and confidence from the manner in which they were able to test Kerry and Dublin in the Munster final and Super 8s respectively.

And Harte feels they can justifiably believe they can cause an upset by defeating last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists.

“I would say they’d reckon they can take our scalp, just as much as we believe we could take theirs.

“Like Derry were never a Division Four team, Cork are not a Division Three team, but it happens that they find themselves there.

“But that doesn’t mean that they haven’t got good footballers, I think they have really good footballers, and we need to be on our game to keep them at bay.”

Cork will be looking to avoid a repeat of last year’s disastrous start at O’Moore Park, when they conceded a couple of early goals.

Chasing the game thereafter was a futile exercise against a Tyrone team with vast experience and a ruthless streak.

“It was one of those days that we hit a really hot spot and got a few goals early on,” said Harte.

“And when you get goals and get momentum like that, it’s very demoralising on the opposition.

“So the longer the game went on, the more we ticked off scores, it was deal done.”

This term, like last, Tyrone have recovered from a disappointing provincial campaign to gather momentum along the alternative route.

Ten years ago, the sides met in an All-Ireland semi-final with Conor Counihan's Rebels recording a surprise win over the Ulstermen in a game that signalled the end of Tyrone's All-Ireland challenge. They did retain their Ulster crown but lost an All-Ireland quarter-final to Dublin later that summer.

Cork went on to lose to Kerry in the 2009 decider before recovering the following season to claim the All-Ireland title, edging out James McCartan's Down team in the final.

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