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Harte lauds the commitment of All-Ireland champions Donegal

The Tyrone manager also admits he is surprised by the level of progress Donegal have made over the past 12 months.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

MICKEY HARTE BELIEVES Donegal’s level of commitment is ‘way ahead of everybody else’ and that any prospective challengers to the All-Ireland champions in 2013 must strive to match that.

The Tyrone manager also admits he is surprised by the level of progress that Jim McGuinness’s side have made over the past twelve months.

“Everybody that wins the All-Ireland, they are the ones that set the bar. You have to say, Donegal are the benchmark. Their commitment is way ahead of everybody else. That’s the key to all of this. You have to match their commitment and nobody has done that this year.

“I would like to put on record that I wasn’t one of the critics of their semi-final defeat last year. I am probably surprised that they have made such strides in the next 12 months. I thought it would take a bit more time for them to be as prolific in front of goals.

“But they made that progress quite rapidly and more quickly than I thought they would. As a result they are champions and they are champions because they got more scores this year than they did last year across the board. That was the key to their success.”

Harte believes his own Tyrone charges were not ‘in the same league’ as Donegal this season but is hopeful they can use a spring campaign at Division 1 in 2013 to bridge that gap.

“When you take Sean Cavanagh, Ronan O’Neill and Kyle Coney out of our attack and still to hold Donegal as close as we did, I suppose we can take some consolation from that. Ultimately, the bottom line is that we didn’t win the Ulster title and we didn’t get to the latter stages of the All-Ireland so you’re clutching at straws.

“We weren’t in the same league as Donegal this year. We would believe that we can make up ground. We have to go in to Division 1 next year and show that we are capable of living and competing in that company. That would be a good indicator for whether we are capable of getting to the level that is required.”

Harte was speaking yesterday at the launch in Croke Park of ‘Match for Michaela’, a major fund raiser for the Michaela Foundation that will see Donegal face an Ulster selection in Casement Park on November 3rd.

“It’s amazing what’s unfolding before our eyes,” remarked Harte. “What we are so pleased about is the willingness of the Ulster Council to take such a proactive role in making it happen. Jim McGuinness said whatever needed to be done he’d do it. The only proviso is that the Donegal final is on the next day so obviously there will be a few players that will not be able to play.

“It will be the best possible Ulster select we can get, there may be a few limitations with clubs involved in the Ulster club Championship. Joe (Kernan) has been on the case. Everybody wants to represent Ulster in this special occasion.”

Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

The Tyrone manager revealed that he has no indication yet of any potential retirements from their squad and that the trio of Cavanagh, O’Neill and Coney should all be back in harness for next year following their injury travails.

Harte was one of a number of team manager who recently held discussions with the Football Development Committee and stressed that a more consistent application of the rules should be their key objective.

“I found that they were very open and we had a good conversation with them. They were putting issues on the table that they felt were coming towards them for discussion.

“I don’t think there is any major changes within the rules. Certainly not to see a mark or this tap and go business. I really will go back to what we need is a consistent application of the rules that exist. That to me is the big issue.”

Mickey Harte: ‘The GAA has been a huge source of positive force for me’

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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