Ulster Championship: Tyrone treble chance is spur for Harte
Davy Harte has two All-Ireland medals in his back pocket as well as three Ulster championship medals, but this merely fuels his desire to land a double ‘treble’ this year.
The stylish Tyrone defender is hoping to help the Red Hands land a third successive provincial crown and then go on and perhaps collect what would be his third All-Ireland honour.
Having been part of the side since 2005, Harte is viewed as one of the old hands yet he is surrounded by even more mature players in the team.
And it’s their combined experience which he hopes will prove instrumental in overcoming the considerable challenge he expects Donegal to pose in Sunday’s Ulster championship semi-final at Clones.
“There is no doubt that this is going to be a tough game for us. We all know the way the year has panned out for Donegal so far,” reflects Harte.
“They got the better of us in the National League in Omagh when we were very disappointed with our own performance.
“They are playing to a system and game plan devised by their manager Jim McGuinness and have been quite impressive. For us to counteract this is going to be tough.”
Harte, a teacher in St Patrick’s GS Armagh where Tyrone goalkeeper John Devine is also on the staff, points to the huge scoring threat that Donegal will offer.
“In their two games in the championship so far the final scores prove that their opponents haven’t been able to stop them.
“For different periods during those games there were times when the outcome was still in the balance but I think the experience of this past couple of years stood to them, particularly in the second half in each game,” muses Harte.
Tyrone’s win over Monaghan in Omagh was not achieved without considerable effort and a reliance on their bench. Yet Harte believes that the team is capable of raising their game against Donegal.
“For us to come through that game against Monaghan was a priority. Obviously there are certain aspects of our performance that we wouldn’t be happy with and we know that we can improve on,” admits Harte.
He is certainly hoping for better weather conditions than the incessant rain and treacherous wind that ruined the Omagh contest as a spectacle.
“The conditions didn’t help on the day either but that’s the hand that you are dealt with and you have to be able to cope with that on any given day,” points out Harte.
The 27-year-old wing-back is certainly not prepared to disagree with the pundits’ theory that Sunday’s clash will be tough and uncompromising but could be laced with some bouts of exquisite football and spectacular scoring.
“There is no doubt that we are going to meet a very competitive Donegal side. From our own point of view I don’t think that you can question the hunger either,” stresses Harte.
“To be part of the first Tyrone team to maybe appear in three Ulster senior finals in a row is a huge, huge incentive. That’s the belief all the players have and we will be doing all we can to make sure we put ourselves in that position.”