Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Tyrone display matched poor conditions, says Mickey Harte

Mickey Harte winced as he was asked if what had transpired on the pitch was pleasing.

Everyone else seemed delighted to depart Armagh accepting the outcome and wishing to make for the heat of first car, and then hearth. But that's not Harte's style.

“The performance was not even patchy,” he responded to some preliminary questioning.

“It was as poor a performance I have witnessed in a long time. We are very much flattered by the scoreline. A goal in each half gave us the result that our play didn't deserve.”

He continued, “That's where we are at. We are looking for performances at this time of the year and our performance was not good.”

Out on the field, conditions were dreadful and a total of 53 frees were awarded as snow fell and the ball took on the adhesive qualities of a bar of soap. Harte conceded that workrate was not to blame before going on to state, “I'm not going to throw the book entirely at the players because we didn't have a good performance.

“There's still a lot of hard work went on there and we're still very conscious of the way we want them to play. We are just disappointed because it wasn't a good spectacle for the crowd.

“And you can be disappointed in winning a game but just with the way the team is not clicking.”

Referring to Fermanagh, he commented: “They came out holding onto us in the second half for a good part of the time and then they start making inroads into our lead.

“But it (the game) didn't deserve that second goal. It was against the run of play and not reflective of how much they had played in that game.”

“I'm very disappointed with the scoreline, because it probably wasn’t a fair reflection”, was Peter Canavan's analysis.

“I was also very disappointed that our ball handling let us down, because we made a lot of unforced errors. But I certainly wouldn’t fault their effort or their desire, the way they went about it.

“We were glad to get playing in the semi-final of the McKenna Cup, to play against quality opposition. Tyrone are certainly that, and I would like to think that a lot of our players would have learned a lot about themselves and about playing at this level.”

And at this level, you come up against men like four-time All-Star Sean Cavanagh, who again was superb here.

“Since he's come back this season since his injury, is he making up for lost time?” Harte asked rhetorically.

“I don't know what it is, but he's shown us the kind of player he is and how important he is to this team.

“He's done that right through these McKenna Cup games and we would like to keep him injury-free for the season.”

If the performance was iffy, the sight of Conor Gormley going off with an eye injury would have alarmed Harte, who confirmed the veteran Carrickmore defender was transferred to casualty to get it seen to. “Hopefully, it is not serious damage but anything to the eye has to be attended to, so he's gone to casualty to get it all checked out,” he explained.

Roll on Saturday, when Harte goes into battle against another clubmate; Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke.

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