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Mickey Harte hits out at the criticism of Tyrone style

Dublin 1-09 Tyrone 0-12

By Paul Keane

Mickey Harte hit back at critics of Tyrone's defensive tactics after coming up just short of a precious win over Dublin at Croke Park.

Tyrone were forced to settle for a draw for the second weekend running after a 69th-minute goal from Dublin's Dean Rock ensured parity.

Niall Morgan did have an injury-time opportunity to steal victory but his free from around 48 metres out was dragged wide.

Victory wouldn't have flattered Tyrone, who were generally the better side, but they kicked 11 bad wides and dropped five first-half point attempts into goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton's arms.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin conceded that if his team give a repeat performance, then they will struggle to retain their Division 1 status.

Gavin also made it clear that as long as he's involved with Dublin they will never play the sort of counter-attacking game that Tyrone are used to.

Asked if he'd consider copying Tyrone, Donegal or even Kerry who have been successful with the style, he simply said: "No".

Harte was unapologetic about Tyrone playing to their strengths.

"I like to see quality defending," said Harte. "People don't give defenders credit for defending with discipline.

"If you need to defend as a team and as a unit, then you need to attack that way as well."

Pushed on what Saturday's game must have been like for neutrals to watch, Harte went on the attack again.

"Who ever said goals are what makes the game?" he asked. "Who ever said that people only come to see goals? Goals are just one aspect of the game.

"There are many other aspects of our game worth watching. I don't think the people out there (in the crowd) were very disappointed at all. I think they must have been very happy.

"There was a lot of energy, a lot of hard work, a lot of skilful play, a lot of good play under pressure. We have to look at the game in totality. Anybody who is going to Gaelic football to see goals only, maybe they should go to another game. Supporters want to see good football, however that may be portrayed."

A healthy 27,469 turned out on Saturday night for a double-header of games also involving the Dublin hurlers.

The sides reached the interval at 0-6 apiece. Both had scored just two points from open play with free-takers reigning supreme.

Things opened out a little in the third quarter and Tyrone moved into a two-point lead before going three clear late on thanks to points from Mark Bradley, Darren McCurry and Sean Cavanagh.

But Eoghan O'Gara was quickest to gather possession after Shane Carthy's 69th-minute shot hit the post, playing the ball across the goal for Rock to palm in the equaliser.

Tyrone corner-back Cathal McCarron came off to protect a hamstring injury so could be okay for next Sunday's hosting of Cork at Healy Park. But an ankle injury looks set to rule Barry Tierney out.

TYRONE: N Morgan (0-1, 1f); A McCrory, J McMahon (0-1), C McCarron; R McNabb, R McNamee, Peter Harte; C Cavanagh, P McNulty (0-1); T McCann, M Donnelly (0-1), B Tierney (0-1); D McCurry (0-2, 2f), S Cavanagh (0-4, 4f), C McShane. Subs: M Bradley (0-1) for McShane (h/t), PJ Lavery for McCarron (55), C McCann for Tierney (60).

DUBLIN: S Cluxton, E Culligan, R O'Carroll, J Cooper; N Devereux, P McMahon, J McCaffrey; D Bastick, E O Conghaile (0-1); T Brady, D Rock (1-6, 4f), C Kilkenny; K McManamon, B Brogan (0-1), P Andrews. Subs: C O'Sullivan for Bastick (29), E O'Gara for Andrews (h/t), P Flynn (0-1) for Kilkenny (h/t), J McCarthy for McMahon (59), S Carthy for O Conghaile (64), C Costello for Brady (67).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

Belfast Telegraph

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