Monday 11 November 2019

Harte seeks to stir up the spirit of '08

Tyrone 0-12 Roscommon 1-7

Concentration is the name of the game as Mickey Harte watches his charges secure victory at Dr Hyde Park
Concentration is the name of the game as Mickey Harte watches his charges secure victory at Dr Hyde Park

Roscommon brought plenty of passion to this intriguing clash, but Tyrone had the power and poise to survive a frenetic finish at Dr Hyde Park.

It truly was a mad match, with Roscommon frustrating Tyrone initially before the Red Hands reeled off nine points without reply either side of half-time.

That had Roscommon trailing by six but, while they hit four in a row themselves in the closing stages, manager John Evans acknowledged the locals weren't icy enough when a shock became a live possibility.

"It was crying out for a calm head, but you have to give credit to Tyrone. They are a wily old team, a tough team. They'll keep putting you under pressure," said Evans.


"There was a little bit of inexperience in front of the posts because we had ample opportunities to at least draw that game, but that's the way it goes."

Relieved to have cleared this awkward assignment, Mickey Harte is hoping his troops can reinvent themselves, just like the glorious back-door All-Ireland adventure of 2008.

"When you do well you have days like this, but not every time you have a day like this do you do well. I think back to 2008 when we had a tight match with Westmeath in Omagh when we could have lost the game, but it served us well," he said.

"You need games like this to get better, but it doesn't necessarily mean you will be as good as you'd like to be. Every game will tell its own tale, but they are good games to win.

"I evoke the memory of '08 every time I can and '05 and '03. You can look to these things and say there are comparisons here and there, but you cannot be definitive until you make bigger strides than we have done to date."

Ultimately, Tyrone did enough to shrug off Roscommon's resistance, which was always spirited.

Early on Roscommon were restricting the favourites, who had to wait until the 19th minute to score.

For all of Roscommon's pluck, though, they just didn't have sufficient punch up front to really flatten Tyrone.

The home side did have Tyrone stumbling when Conor Devaney poked an opportunistic 31st-minute goal that edged them 1-2 to 0-2 ahead, but Harte's charges summoned a purposeful response.

Points from Darren McCurry, Mark Donnelly, and a Conor McAliskey '45' had Tyrone on terms by the interval.

Then McCurry rose to prominence after the restart, rifling four in a row as the visitors took a 0-11 to 1-2 advantage. It was a crucial burst, according to Harte.

"Until their goal went in we hadn't actually kicked on by starting to pick off some scores. That is why it was good to have someone like Darren McCurry around and Conor McAliskey too – he kicked a '45' just before half-time.

"They were such vital scores to us, if we hadn't got them we mightn't have had the confidence to start the second half the way we did."

That was when the damage was done, even if the Connacht men trimmed the deficit back to two with efforts from Cathal Cregg (0-3) and Donie Shine.

Evans believes brighter days await in the west. "I'm trying to develop a team here in Roscommon and after six or seven months I can honestly say that I can work with these guys."

Tyrone accomplished their mission, advancing to round three.

"It is all about the result, the performance takes second place, and that is how we have to view it," the Red Hands boss reflected.

Make no mistake, though, there is something still in Tyrone.

Scorers – Tyrone: D McCurry 0-6 (5fs), Mark Donnelly, S Cavanagh (1f) 0-2 each, M Penrose, C McAliskey ('45') 0-1 each. Roscommon: C Devaney 1-1 (0-1f), C Cregg 0-3 (2fs), N Collins, K Higgins, D Shine (f) 0-1 each.

Tyrone – P McConnell 7; R McKenna 6, Joe McMahon 7, C McCarron 6; C Clarke 7, P Harte 8, C Gormley 7; C Cavanagh 7, S Cavanagh 7; Mattie Donnelly 6, Mark Donnelly 7, C McGinley 7; D McCurry 8, M Penrose 7, C McAliskey 7. Subs: K Gallagher 6 for Mattie Donnelly (47), R O'Neill 6 for McAliskey (47), S Warnock 7 for McKenna (57), K Coney 6 for McCurry (63), P McNiece 6 for Mark Donnelly (65).

Roscommon – D O'Malley 7; N Collins 7, N Carty 7, S McDermott 7; D Keenan 7, N Daly 8, P Brogan 7; C Shine 7, K Mannion 8; C Daly 6, E Smith 6, I Kilbride 6; C Cregg 7, D Shine 7, C Devaney 7. Subs: D O'Gara 7 for E Smith (39), K Higgins 8 for I Kilbride (42), M Finneran 6 for C Daly (50), C Compton 7 for Devaney (55), S Kilbride 6 for Shine (65).

Ref – D Gough (Meath)

Irish Independent

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