Friday 22 March 2019

Mickey Harte: We won't abandon style because of one defeat to Dublin

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Mickey Harte has insisted Tyrone will remain faithful to their footballing principles, despite last year's crushing All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin.

A new championship challenge begins for the Red Hands on Sunday when they take on Monaghan at Healy Park, and their manager has advised the GAA world to expect more of their traditional counter-attacking style.

"Why would we abandon all that happened before, and think that that's binned, and this only some kind of reactionary response to what happened against Dublin?

"We are building on what we did last year, and we're keeping very much of what we did last year in our armoury," he said.

"So it's not about because Dublin beat us, we throw out the baby with the bath-water, forget all we'd done and think, this isn't working.

"It worked very well for us in four championship matches last year. It didn't work well in one, a very important one of course, but I can't separate those things. I think that's all part of what we did last year.

"There seems to be a very tunnel vision or focus on this particular game, and obviously some people enjoy that focus more than others, and tell you about it often. I get confused at how people don't seem to be able to look at exactly how we played last year."


Treble All-Ireland winning attacker Stephen O'Neill has been working with Tyrone's forwards this year as they look to fashion a sharper edge in front of the posts, but Harte is not unduly concerned about his side's attacking strength.

"We played a lot of attacking football last year, we racked up some wonderful scores, but if you take a game in isolation that we didn't perform particularly well, and Dublin caught us early and nailed us and kept us there.

"I certainly wouldn't forget the good football we played, and I won't forget the day we didn't perform, but I'll remember them all," he added.

And Harte expressed his irritation at depictions of Tyrone as an ultra-defensive team, while similar approaches from top sides like Kerry and Dublin are ignored.

"Many times I have been at games that Kerry have played and Dublin have played, and I've seen 12, 13 and 14 men in their own half of the field on numerous occasions.

"But it doesn't seem to be commented on to the same extend if it happens when we're playing.

"That's a fact, that's not some chip on our shoulder or anything. We hear that all the time, so until people begin to realise, if you're going to talk about that kind of stuff, talk about it all the time, or don't talk about it all.

"Otherwise it becomes very clear that only those with an agenda are peddling that sort of suggestion."

Irish Independent

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