Sport

Harte's finishing fear as Tyrone face tough trip to Thurles

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte knows his side will face a tough task when they take on Tipperary this weekend
Francis Mooney

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship: Tipperary v Tyrone (tomorrow, Thurles, 3pm)

TYRONE’S lack of finishing power is a worry for manager Mickey Harte as he prepares to head for Thurles.

The Red Hands managed just 11 scores in their last outing, but a solid defensive display helped them secure a narrow Qualifier win over Meath.

Harte accepts that a greater return will be required if his side is to get the better of a Tipperary side that romped to a 23-point win over Louth in the last round.

Tyrone scored just three points while playing with wind advantage in the first half of their clash with the Royals at Healy Park.

“We need to improve on our finishing. It goes without saying that if you only get three points in 35 minutes, then your finishing is maybe not good enough,” said Harte.

But the Tyrone boss isn’t heaping the blame on the front men. He has traced the problem to other areas, with the creation of scoring chances, and in particular decision-making, stifling Red Hand productivity.

“I suppose that’s maybe to do with decision-making, getting the ball to the right people to attempt to finish shots.

“Maybe [we need] to put a wee bit more variety into our play than we had in the first 35, 40 minutes of the game.”

It was only in the final quarter that Tyrone began to get to grips with the Meath challenge, and Harte is looking for more of the energy and drive that helped them close out a tense Healy Park tie.

“There’s lots of things to work on and I suppose there’s no one aspect of our game. The big thing is that we need to be playing with the spirit and the enthusiasm that we showed in the last 20 minutes, that served us well.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get to that place, but that’s the challenge for us. We need to be in that kind of frame of mind, and deliver that level of performance if we want to progress. This is it, you don’t get there without playing well.”

It was only when they ran directly at the Royals’ defence that they reaped the rewards, but Harte isn’t convinced that a similar strategy will work at Semple Stadium.

He is prepared to adopt a patient approach and respond to the requirements presented by the pattern of the game.

“Every game is different. You don’t write the script for the game and say, this is exactly how you work and everything will be well.

“You do what you can, you set out to do something you think is going to work, and maybe if it isn’t working, you might have to adjust.

“So really it is the capacity to adjust and the adaptability within the players that will make the difference, because no game has a perfect script, and it evolves in its own unique way.

“We have to be able to think on our feet and deal with the situation we find ourselves in.

“If we can do that, then we will be a match for most people. If we don’t reach that kind of level, then anybody can beat us.”

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