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We gave it all we had, says Tyrone boss Harte

By Declan Bogue

With Armagh continuing to give the media the cold shoulder, it was left to Tyrone manager Mickey Harte to give his take on an evening that ended with another painful loss.

It was a difficult season for Tyrone and this was no different, as Harte summed up the mood in the dressing room afterwards.

"As you could imagine it's not very pleasant," he began.

"It's not a good day when you go out of the Championship and you have no second chances.

"Armagh came and played well and dominated the game. Maybe they got the rub of the green here and there but I have to admire the energy the players put into it after Mattie (Donnelly) was sent off.

"In fact, we played our best football after he was sent off and got four or five points on the bounce from a difficult position.

"And I suppose they worked continuously through the second half and a few things didn't go right for them. Things didn't come off for us that we needed to come off to keep ourselves in the game.

"Armagh were able to pick off a few scores, full credit to them, they played a good game. It was enough to beat us and it's very disappointing, but I can't argue with it."

There was a flurry of an effort that twice brought Tyrone on level terms, but they clearly lack the class and fluidity of previous teams.

In their absence you are left with grafters, but grafting is doubly difficult on a humid day with one link of the chain gone before half-time.

"We got the few points before half-time which gave us a degree of belief that we could get something out of the game, and then we started the second half well as well," Harte noted.

"So, it's very disappointing that with the energy and effort they put into the second half, they didn't get more out of it.

"But Armagh were in a strong position, having the extra man, having the full-time sweeper and being able to pick off the scores to keep their noses in front."

Nor did Harte go reaching for excuses yesterday, even when one was gift-wrapped and handed to him with a reporter's loaded question about the number of personal fouls James Morgan escaped with.

"I am not here to talk about referees or anything else, I do not want to be dragged into that scenario," Harte answered.

"We gave it our best and we took what was coming at us with all things involved and we weren't good enough to win the match and that's it."

Some of the veterans looked every day of their age here, but Harte, who confirmed that he will be back as manager next year, maintained that some of the older hands deserved a bit of time and space to make up their minds.

"These men have given a lot to Tyrone and they will take their time to decide what they want to do.

"It's only right that they would be given that time and nobody would make any great decisions today.

"In due course everybody would look at their positions and see if they have the heart to give it another go, or if they have the desire or the will."

Belfast Telegraph

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