Harte unhappy despite Errigal's winning start to Tyrone title defence against Killyclogher

Gavin Potter of Killyclogher challenges Errigal Ciaran’s Aidan McCrory
Gavin Potter of Killyclogher challenges Errigal Ciaran’s Aidan McCrory

On the face of it, a 0-17 to 0-9 victory over Killyclogher was the perfect way to begin the defence of Errigal Ciaran’s Tyrone SFC title, but joint manager Mark Harte was unhappy with a number of aspects of his team’s performance.

A strong finish at Omagh saw the O’Neill Cup holders stretch the margin out to eight points, but with ten minutes to play, the challengers had an opportunity to go level with a golden goal chance that flashed just wide.

Errigal survived the scare to put a gloss on the scoreline with a late flourish, setting up a quarter-final meeting with the winners of Friday evening’s tie involving Donaghmore and Moortown.

“We would have been aware of the amount of threats that Killyclogher had, Bradley, the McCanns, Murnaghan coming from deep, so we had a lot of fires to put out there.

“There was a number of them got away with shots we wouldn’t have ben that happy with, but there’s learning involved, and thankfully we get the chance to learn,” said Harte.

“The objective here was to negotiate the first round of the Tyrone Championship, we’ve manged to do that.

“Whereas we’re happy with the result, I would see lots of room for performance in terms of some of the handling, which I thought was poor, some of the shot selection was poor.

“But they’re problems that we will hopefully try and iron out, because we will have to raise our standard.”

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After leading by three points at the interval, thanks to scores from Ruairi Canavan and goalkeeper Darragh McAnenly, the champions stepped up the tempo in the opening ten minutes of the second half, but Killyclogher staged a spirited revival to close the gap to two.

“We had a decent start to the second half, but I thought we had a poor lull midway through it and we let them creep back into it,” said Harte.

“It was a mixture of really good play on their behalf, but a number of sloppy errors at the back from us coming out as well.

“So that’s definitely an area we need to tighten up on, as we progress to the next round.

“We managed to get a bit of a squeeze on late on in the half, coming towards the end of the game, which meant that we did have a wee bit of a buffer there, but it took it all, because there’s always that threat from Killyclogher, especially for goals, and we were just happy to negotiate that match.”

Tyrone defender Cormac Quinn, who had been sidelined by injury since the All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Derry, made a welcome return, tasked with the job of shadowing former Red Hand star Mark Bradley, who managed just one point from play.

“It’s great to see him back. He had a really good season at inter-county level and it ended obviously very dramatically for him at Croke Park that day,” said Harte.

“So he had to be realty, really patient to get himself back in.

“Marking Mark Bradley is a serious task, and I thought he broke even with him.

“Mark is always going to do damage, but I thought Cormac got out to a few balls as well.

“We’re just hoping that he negotiated that game okay and he came through it healthy, and the signs are that he has done, and that’s positive.”