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Mickey Harte: 'So one day that will be put to bed, so don't worry about that'

The Tyrone boss feels there is still more to come from his side after their loss to Kerry.

Tyrone football boss Mickey Harte after yesterday's game.
Tyrone football boss Mickey Harte after yesterday's game.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

SINCE THEY LIFTED Sam Maguire in 2008, Tyrone have found championship encounters against the elite trio of Dublin, Kerry and Mayo problematic.

Yesterday was their 11th time in that spell facing up to a member of the leading group. It generated more disappointment as Kerry held them off by three points yet amidst that dejection Mickey Harte is adamant his team are capable of correcting that pattern of results.

“It’s disappointing to hear the narrative that comes out about that, because we did beat them in other competitions.

“And the times that we beat those teams in the past, there was a kick of the ball here or there, we could have lost them just as much as won them. This current group of players are on the unfortunate side of the levelling off of that statistic.

“So one day that will be put to bed, so don’t worry about that.”

Despite heading for the exit door in their latest attempt to land the All-Ireland title, Harte is convinced this Tyrone team has the capacity to improve.

“I think this team is a work in progress and I think they will continue to compete at a high level and I think they will get better. I have no reason not to think that because if you look at their history and record over the last few years it’s been very consistent and consistently getting better each year. Sometimes just because you didn’t get to the place you got last year it doesn’t mean this team isn’t better.

“I can’t fault the players for the effort they put in the whole season and the effort that they put in today. I think they played with a lot of heart and they played with real energy and it’s a shame they didn’t get more out of the game.”

Harte questioned the decision to only play six minutes of injury time at the end of the Croke Park clash.

“I would have loved to have got a bit more extra time, six minutes seems under the norm for modern day games at this level, and particularly with the amount of substitutions that were made, and the time that it took for some of them even to be made after the six minutes was announced.

“Maybe that’s game management too of another nature, but I think the referee should be up to that and give you the time that you deserve.”

Kerry were described by Harte as ‘probably the ideal team’ to be tasked with the challenge of halting Dublin’s pursuit of a fifth successive All-Ireland title.

“They’re in the final, they’re a very experienced team now, and even their young players are experienced at a high level. Kerry is Kerry, they don’t go to finals to lose them, so I think that Dublin will have their hands full with them and who’s to say can they do it?

“Kerry are probably the ideal team to stop somebody else doing the five in a row, because they knew what that was like themselves and maybe they would like to inflict that on somebody else.

“They came out with a different attire in the second half, they were up for the challenge, up for the fight. As the game went on, that became very apparent. A goal was going to be major for any team and that’s the way it turned out. A goal meant Kerry only had to cover point for point and they were going to be in business.”

Harte would not be drawn on the future of long-serving members of the Tyrone squad.

“I wouldn’t like to talk about that right now, I think it’s a bit raw to be thinking like that at the minute and as anybody who is at that end of their career in terms of age would need time to reflect on it for themselves.”

Does he still have same energy and desire to go on?

“I sure do,” remarked the three-time All-Ireland winning boss.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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