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Image: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

'This is what we dream of' - Mickey Harte hails Tyrone's Ulster triumph

Harte praised the qualities of his players after they delivered a 14th Ulster title for the Red Hand.
Jul 18th 2016, 1:40 PM 4,602 7

THE FAMINE IS over. The last time Tyrone waited this long for an Ulster title was back in 1995, when they also bridged a six-year gap.

The fact that it was Donegal they beat in the final made it all the sweeter. Their neighbours have bested them on four occasions in the province over the last five years. Three inspirational injury-time scores were enough to squeeze them over the line in a war of attrition.

When the Red Hand last lifted the Anglo-Celt Cup in 2010 with a 10-point defeat of Monaghan, the focus immediately switched to reclaiming the All-Ireland. There was no pitch invasion in Clones.

This time, things were different. Tyrone celebrated on the field afterwards like it was their first Ulster crown. For most of the panel it was.

“This is what we dream of,” a beaming Mickey Harte told BBC NI afterwards. “The last Ulster title we won people didn’t seem to care about it. They didn’t come on the field the way they did today.”

“There is a hunger that has been there for six years and it really came out today.

“It looked like a couple of times that the game was gone from us but I know the qualities in these men. They are a class act.”

One man who has been around long enough to recall past Ulster wins is Sean Cavanagh. He arrived into Clones on Sunday with four Ulster medals already in his back-pocket, but he played with the hunger of a man searching for his first provincial title.

Sean Cavanagh with his daughters Clara and Eva Source: Presseye/Andrew Paton/INPHO

“It’s very special,” Cavanagh said afterwards. “I’m obviously coming to the end and I knew coming here today that lifting the trophy as captain is a very special thing.

“I’ve watched Peter Cavanan, Brian Dooher, Cormac MacAnallen do it. To add my name to that list is very special and something I’ll cherish forever.

“It’s a sign of the character we have in this squad. Whenever we needed them the Peter Hartes, the Darren McCurrys stepped up and kicked amazing scores. Kieran McGeary came on and kicked a massive score.

“Mickey Harte just brings an insatiable will to win and he instills it in us. [Wearing] the Tyrone jersey is a privileged position to be in and he makes you feel special.

“He’s built a team backboned by phenomenal athletes and football players. It’s an amazing team to be in.”

Such is the nature of sport, Tyrone won’t be allowed to bask in the glory of yesterday for too long. Big days in Croke Park lie ahead. Cavanagh smiled when he was asked how far this team can go.

“You always have to shoot for the stars. We’ve taken another step along the way, but there’s an awful lot of football to be played.

“Six years ago whenever I was standing here [after winning Ulster] we knew it was only the start of then season because the real football is played in Croke Park.

“We’re very proud to be taking the Anglo-Celt across the border tonight.

“Then we’ll put our heads down and we’ll really look forward to playing in Croke Park. We feel we can play our best football there.”

Tyrone are only getting started.

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