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Mickey Harte will not be distracted by talk of hat-trick

By John Campbell

The prospect of a hat-trick of Ulster titles for Tyrone may be a preoccupation with the bookmakers but it is certainly not to the forefront of manager Mickey Harte's mind.

The triple All-Ireland winning boss will happily settle for victory over Monaghan on Sunday and will then see just where that will take his side.

"Our only concern at this moment is to get a first round victory on Sunday, nothing more than that. If we were to start thinking in terms of hat-tricks we could take our eye off the ball. A win on Sunday would set us up for whatever the next challenge might be and that's how we are looking at things," insists Harte.

Tyrone and Armagh have been the dominant forces in Ulster for several years now having won 11 titles between them since 1999, and Harte reiterates his point in relation to the Ulster provincial championship.

"I still attach great currency to Ulster titles. Let's face it Tyrone are not exactly coming down with them.

"At the minute the only thing we need to concern ourselves with is getting over Monaghan and no matter what anyone says this will not be easy."

Harte was bitterly disappointed when the Red Hands lost to Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-finals last year and since then Tyrone's hunger to capture the Sam Maguire Cup for the fourth time has intensified, principally because for many of the players this could perhaps be their last year in the county colours.

But Harte does not place any great emphasis on age - indeed, he refuses to listen to talk of 'ageism'.

"Current form is all that matters. It is in essence the ultimate barometer when it comes to picking teams, especially for championship matches. Every player comes into consideration and it is my job to put out what I feel is the best team that is available to me on any given day," adds Harte.

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