Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Mickey thrilled to observe Tyrone's winning mentality

It was a different Mickey Harte fielding questions on Saturday night than the one that seemed tetchy following the underwhelming win over Fermanagh at the same venue six days earlier.

What he saw here pleased him for all the reasons he likes to see, above all in its simplicity.

“We got a lot more scores and we were much more creative. Last week we were making some very poor shot choices and taking on things that had a high risk of not being successful,” he explained

The rain was relentless and the wind should have been a factor, but Tyrone outscored their opponents 2-4 to 0-5 facing into the gale during the second half.

“I think we were more calculated today and in the second half we played more controlled football against the breeze than with it,” said Harte.

“That often is the case. People think the breeze is there so everything is going to happen dead easy.

“It happens easy enough when you get the ball from A to B, but you must be controlled with it, otherwise you waste a lot of possession.”

There is a fashion to dismiss a trophy like this, but when you do not play challenge matches and you are introducing a whole new cast of youngsters, playing these games becomes everything.

Winning helps too, especially when Tyrone are rooting around trying to relocate a winning mentality.

Their manager clearly agrees.

“It's always good to win games and it's better to win trophies,” he said.

“There are only four potential trophies that an inter-county senior team can win and that's one of them. That's nice to have tucked away.

“Other ones may be more difficult to win, but if you get the winning mentality and get young players used to winning things, then you want to keep that mentality right.”

It can be said that they are coping fine with life in transition.

Harte seems energised by the job.

“We like what we see, there's a number of players who have come in and are acquitting themselves well,” he said.

“There is good energy coming from the new and younger players, bringing more energy to the seasoned campaigners and you can't ask for more than that.”

The next step is seeing how the fledglings cope in Division One, with a trip to face Down in Pairc Esler on Saturday night.

“We haven't played a lot of Division One teams yet, so you have to be mindful of that,” cautioned Harte.

“But there was good competitive games here, particularly tonight, that was a competitive match and those boys will do well to have that experience and the experience of a final because finals are there to be won.

“Nobody goes into a final not wanting to win it, so there's a competitive edge there that wouldn't be even in round games or the semi-final, so yes, they have experienced something that they wouldn't be able to get, whether in challenge games or in-house games. I hope they use that experience well.”

Understandably, Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke was happy to look to the future as he described the task at hand as they go into a Division Three league full of pitfalls.

“We are just coming in and we are trying to work as hard as we can with the lads,” Harte's Errigal Ciaran clubmate said.

“They are responding well. We are in Division Three and it's a minefield, it's very tough.

“All teams there are well organised, very fit and so on, so we are under no illusions, getting to the final of the McKenna Cup is no good unless we can push on in the National League.

“We start with a tough one next week against Meath, we just draw a line under this one straight away, we get prepared during the week and we hope to put in a good performance against Meath and get off to a good start.

“There is a very thin line between doing well in Division Three and struggling.”

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