Harte’s hat-trick but it’s down to Tyrone players
Tyrone scaled GAA’s most hazardous peak once again to win a third All-Ireland title at Croke Park.
The Red Hands halted Kerry’s bit for there in a row to launch another emotional scene at GAA headquarters.
Mickey Harte’s men scored a third championship win over the Kingdom this decade, and Pat O’Shea became the third Kerry manager to fall victim to the Red Hand machine.
Sam Maguire will return this evening to the land of O’Neill, accompanied by the heroes who laid their bodies on the line and duly dazzled the reigning champions into submission with an awesome display of skill and steel.
They staged a stunning finish to halt Kerry’s bid for three-in-a-row, and once again the land of O’Neill is basking in the ultimate sporting success.
Manager Mickey Harte has now guided his county to three senior All-Ireland titles, but he deflected the plaudits to his magnificent band of players.
“I have a wonderful team around me, and that’s the bottom line — great people, on the field and off the field. Everywhere you turn there’s quality, and it’s the collective quality that gives us what we have.
“And I certainly couldn’t take the credit for that. I’ll share in it, and that’s the way we work in this group,” said Harte.
And he has special words for Brian McGuigan, who battled his way back from a series of career-threatening injuries to win a second All-Ireland title.
“We couldn’t say enough about Brian McGuigan, what he has come through. People don’t know the courage of this man and the quality of him. That he’s back playing in an All-Ireland final it’s just unreal to think of what he has come through.
“And that’s just typical of the kind of guys we have here. They have faced adversity over the last 10 or 11 years, and they have always bounced back very strongly from that.
“They’re solid people, solid citizens, and I hope we see a lot more of them.”
Harte knew that this was going to be an intense battle between the two best teams in the country, and that it would go right to the wire.
“We did anticipate it was going to be a hell of a battle. Kerry are a great side, and we have to take our hats off to them.
“They were in their fifth final in a row, and if you were gong to win this final, you deserved it.
“And I think we deserved that today. It was end to end stuff, nobody wanted to let go of that game. At different times Kerry could have taken it, a few little misplaced passes which could have put us on the back foot.
“We started very brightly at the start of the second half, dream start that we wanted, and then at the crucial time we got those three of four points tagged on.
“And there was just something deep inside these men that said that they wanted this third All-Ireland.”
Skipper Brian Dooher believed Tyrone’s strength in depth was the key to victory.
“It was very intense, very fast. We used our full bench, and probably the bench made a difference at the end up.
“We have probably the best bench this year that we ever had, and some of the boys on the bench are probably better than the boys who are on the first fifteen.
“Whenever they were coming on you knew that they were going to add a lot. Brian McGuigan and Kevin Hughes and Mugsy, you saw what they did whenever they came on. They’re vital to this team.”