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Harte lashes out at critics

Red Hands manager accuses some pundits of talking 'articulate drivel'

By Declan Bogue

Published 24/08/2015

Heat is on: Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh and Kerry's Peter Crowley square up at Croke Park
Heat is on: Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh and Kerry's Peter Crowley square up at Croke Park
Tiernan McCann is dejected at the end of yesterday's match

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has hit back at the sustained level of criticism he and his players have come in for this season, in the wake of their All-Ireland exit to champions Kerry at the semi-final stage.

Asked if off-the-pitch affairs had disrupted their preparations - Tiernan McCann had his 'diving' ban lifted in midweek - the Errigal Ciaran clubman answered: "It is annoying, frustrating, it's all those sorts of things and it's downright biased what was going on."

He continued with a thinly-veiled swipe at high-profile critics of Tyrone: "You have to live with that because some people make their living off being controversial. You just have to deal with that and let it be.

"But the good thing about it is they speak so much drivel that even if it's articulate drivel, it's still drivel."

On the game itself, Harte felt that Tyrone may have been awarded a second penalty when Pádraig McNulty was brought to the ground. However, referee Maurice Deegan chose to see things differently and booked the Dungannon man for simulation instead.

"I would be biased of course, but in live time, thought it looked a decent call for a penalty," said Harte.

"(I) need to look at it in slow-motion again to see what the story is. Maybe youse had a better view of it than me but I would be looking at it through Tyrone glasses."

While Tyrone had their chances to win, with no fewer than five dead ball opportunities spurned, Harte refused to blame a lack of composure as the deciding factor.

"It is winner-takes-all so when the game is done, they look at the winners and believe they done everything to perfection and they look at the losers and think of lots of things they did wrong," explained the three-time All-Ireland winner.

"I don't look at life like that, when you win, you make lots of mistakes and when you lose, you do a lot of things well but don't do enough. So I wouldn't say it was down to composure, thought we were very composed at times when we needed to be and so were Kerry."

Harte also conveyed his dismay at the black card awarded to Ronan McNamee, and the lack of one for Shane Enright when he was guilty of a clear pull down on Peter Harte.

"Baffling is the word," said Harte on the disparity of those decisions.

"Inconsistency is another word. I just don't see the difference in those. If one of those was a black, the other one was a black or if they were both yellows, so be it.

"But I don't see how you could have one one colour and the other the other colour. It just doesn't seem to make sense," he added.

When it was suggested referee Deegan could have reversed the order of the cards to suit each offence, he replied: "Well, that's for you and independent observers to suggest, I dare not do that."

Meanwhile, Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh has urged the county board to retain Harte's services, the manager now at the end of his arrangement struck during the 2013 season.

Asked if he would like to see Harte in charge next year, the Moy man replied: "I think we all would.

"It wasn't Mickey who pulled a few shots there or maybe didn't make the extra pass. That was ourselves. Whether that was inexperience or what it was, that break of the ball didn't go for us."

Cavanagh added: "Mickey had us prepared.

"They've (the management team) done everything they could and we felt there was enough there to get us to the final and win it - it just wasn't to be."

On his own future involvement, Cavanagh appeared emotional for a few minutes, stating: "It's hard to know. It's just so difficult at this stage to even…

"It's something that you sort of say I will take a look at every year. And every year it's getting tougher to look at.

"I don't know. I'll look at it in the winter and see how it goes from there."

Belfast Telegraph

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