Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Harte placing Wexford high on order of merit

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte will take his side into their All Ireland Football Championship semi-final against Wexford at Croke Park on Sunday week burdened by a massive weight of expectation.

Such was the majesty of the Red Hands’ performance against Dublin at the weekend, that their contest with Jason Ryan’s conquerors of Armagh is being viewed in many quarters as a mere formality.

Now Harte, ever the perfectionist, is at pains to stress that Wexford will not only have gained in confidence from their quarter-final triumph but will have absorbed lessons that could prove more than useful against his own side.

“Wexford won promotion to Division Two in the National League, they reached the Leinster final, they have since beaten Armagh – is anyone seriously going to tell me that they are not where they are on merit?” queries Harte.

He will be a more than interested onlooker when Kerry and Cork lock horns again in the first of the semi-finals on Sunday next.

It will a match which offers the Kingdom the opportunity to exact revenge for that surprise Munster final defeat at the hands of their neighbours.

Kerry had to all intents and purposes been coasting serenely to yet another provincial accolade until Cork manager Conor Counihan thrust the towering Michael Cussen into the full-forward berth at half-time and from that point on he almost single-handedly helped to transform the course of the game, sparking Cork’s 1-16 to 1-11 victory.

Cork, meanwhile, survived a late fright against Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare side in their quarter-final before winning by 2-11 to 1-11.