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Tyrone must get back into top gear to avoid title woe: Harte

By Declan Bogue

Published 05/04/2016

Not happy: Mickey Harte has seen the Red Hands tail off
Not happy: Mickey Harte has seen the Red Hands tail off

Their Division Two league final against Cavan is almost three weeks away, but Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is far from impressed by his side's last two performances against Armagh and Fermanagh, which both ended in a draw.

Harte might have thought the competition for places could have secured victories with his side already through to the decider after winning their first five games, but that hasn't proved to be the case and the three-time All-Ireland winner is not afraid to address it.

"We now have to go into a final with two relatively poor results from our own perspective. Not just the results, casting no aspersions on the opposition, but the quality of our play too," he stated.

"It's all about the quality of our play that we're talking about here, not even the results, and in the last two games we think that it hasn't been good enough."

Although the Armagh game was played in a monsoon with puddles lying on the Healy Park pitch - and the Brewster Park surface was evidently soft - Harte refused to let the conditions become an excuse.

"They played through those conditions, both Armagh and Fermanagh, the same as ourselves and I think they acquitted themselves better on both occasions than we did over the 70 minutes, so we have to take stock of that and we have to try to get a new gear for ourselves for the final in Croke Park, because if we don't, it will be another league final lost," he said.

Harte also continued his opposition of the black card rule after his captain Sean Cavanagh was dismissed in the first-half.

"I wouldn't like to think for the referee," he said. "But I think these black cards were cried in and they should be cried out again."

Looking ahead to final opponents Cavan, Harte outlined their rich potential.

"We saw what they did with the U21s four years in a row, and maybe while they didn't build and get the result of that at U21 level, they're getting it at senior level now," he added.

"So four U21 titles in a row is bound to be good for a team that's progressing and Cavan seem to be making that progress now.

"We're on a different curve than they are at the moment and I don't like that, so we need to check our curve and get it going upwards again."

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