Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Let's hope history weighs heavily on their shoulders' - Mickey Harte thinks Dublin could feel five in-a-row pressure

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, left, shakes hands with Dublin manager Jim Gavin following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, left, shakes hands with Dublin manager Jim Gavin following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Tyrone at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has suggested the weight of history could burden Dublin as they go in search of a record fifth All-Ireland title in a row this year.

Last year his side lost to Dublin in the All-Ireland decider but beat them when they clashed in Croke Park in the league this spring.

Speaking at the launch of the 2019 Ulster football championship in Dungannon, Harte described what Dublin has achieved as amazing. But he pointed out that in their four successful All-Ireland campaigns since 2015, they had never previously lost three league games the previous spring. 

However, he didn't believe they deliberately set out to miss the league final.

"Maybe they will look on the league as a blessing in disguise," he said.

"They can go away and prepare out of the spotlight until they suddenly arrive in the last eight. Then maybe they will put the head down and be the Dublin we know they are.

"It is too early to be definitive about their form. But in previous campaigns, Dublin didn't lose three league matches, they did this year. Whether that was intentional or semi-intentional, we will not know until we see them in the championship.

"They have too many good players and too good a record in the league and championship to say this is the end game for them. That would be foolish but I'd like to think that other teams have learned to get better. Who knows whether we are good enough to challenge them.

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"A few of us challenged them in the league and got good results but we do know that they were not on full output either because they didn't have all of their players available and they were experimenting a bit as well."

Harte revealed that he attended the 1982 All-Ireland final when Kerry fell short of making history.

"But for a little push or a big push they would have achieved it."

He believes as the summer progresses the pressure on Dublin will grow.

"What they have done is amazing. It is not easy to win two in-a-row, never mind, three and four in-a-row. They have that done and banked.

"There will be pressure on them because there will be a lot of talk about the five-in-row and there will be a lot of anticipation as to whether they can make another bit of history.

"So let's hope history weighs heavily on their shoulders," said Harte, who expects his side to overcome the challenge of Division 4 champions Derry in the Ulster quarter-final next month.

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