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Goals foundations to stunning win, admits Tyrone boss Harte

By Declan Bogue

Published 23/05/2016

Results business: Boss Mickey Harte praised the Championship win
Results business: Boss Mickey Harte praised the Championship win

After conducting his post-match duties with the TV contingent, still in his Tyrone tracksuit, it was nice of Mickey Harte to make an effort for the print media by appearing in smart slacks, suede shoes and a shirt.

Asked if the Red Hands' performance had gladdened his heart, he kept a straight face as he said: "It's good to have that kind of control by half-time - take the goals out of it and it was a tight game.

"When we had two goals I was happy, but then they got a point just coming up towards the end of the half and the fact we got our third goal was a real killer for them and a saviour for us.

"That meant it was a damage limitation exercise in the second half, all we had to take was take them point for point and all would be well. Without that third goal it would have been more tense than that, but that really sealed the deal for us."

For a team that were told they hadn't the ability to take goals, Harte might have told them to take the foot off the gas in the period. He still managed to extract a facet of their game they can stick under the microscope in Garvaghey before the Ulster semi-final.

"You could look at the second half and the number of goal chances we had that didn't go in. What was good in the first half wasn't so good in the second half," he said.

"It was all about a result today - it's a long time since we won a first round in the Ulster Championship; that was something we had to get off our backs and that was something the players did by half-time. They weren't saying 'This game's won', they were saying 'We're in a very strong position and if we hold our heads, and if we match them score for score, then we'll win the game.'"

As well as handing Niall Sludden a Championship debut, Harte also blooded Padraig Hampsey, Kieran McGeary and Jonathan Munroe. Lee Brennan remains uncorked for now, but the Errigal Ciaran man was delighted with how it went for the youngsters.

"People talk about this all the time - it's no longer a 15-man game, there's too much energy, too much intensity required for everybody to last 70 minutes at that pace. So you need people coming off the bench who are ready and willing to make a change, a difference," he said.

"It doesn't always work, but it's great when you see people coming in, getting a grip of the game, getting some game-time. That's valuable for them for the future.

"You can't replicate that anywhere else - you gotta be in the Championship to experience the Championship. That's what those players have got now - and players from last year who haven't had the chance to savour a victory in the Ulster Championship now have that behind them as we go into the semi-final."

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