Harte: Tyrone didn’t deserve to win but we’ll stay strong
Mickey Harte faced the media with the look of a man who has just reached the end of a league campaign that brought promotion but not a trophy.
In the curious world that division two inhabits, that’s no big deal.
Some would even prefer it, as it gives their side the elusive dark horse quality.
“You always look at these things and say, ‘were we bad?’” posed the Red Hands coach.
“That would be doing a disservice to Kildare — the way they applied themselves to the game meant that they got the result they did.
“You have to hold your hands up to them,” he graciously acknowledged.
“On reflection that seems like we weren’t as good as we have been in the previous games,” Harte added.
“The ultimate thing is that we probably didn’t play as well as we had done in many of the games this year. But Kildare were a better team today.
“I suppose they won the game in the first half. Despite the fact that we had a decent breeze, they were still in the game at half-time.
“They were a point ahead but were bossing us in the first half in particular.”
Already, Harte is thinking of the Championship.
When Tyrone reflect at the end of the summer, this may have been a significant moment in spurring this group of players on.
“It’s always a setback when you lose, of course it is, but a winning streak doesn’t go on forever, it does come to an end sometime.
“I’d prefer it didn’t come to an end out there of
course but we now face the Ulster Championship, that’s the next competition we have to get ready for, and maybe that experience will serve us well as we go into the Ulster Championship,” he said.
“I wouldn’t have chosen it as a way of going there, but since we have gone that way, we should make better use of it than going in undefeated because that was always going to happen someday.
“It’s better now that we are promoted, that it doesn’t impact on that.
“I’m very pleased with the squad, and their performances across the year.
“We can’t let one single game dismiss all the good work that has been done.”
Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney’s cup wasn’t exactly running over either.
When asked if he felt a sense of achievement at his first trophy with Kildare, McGeeney responded: “Probably not, no, if I’m being honest.
“It’s not peripheral, everybody wants silverware, but that kind of pressure is external rather than internal.
“Everybody plays football for one reason and that’s to win as many competitions as they can, but there is prioritising those competitions as well.
“Everybody wants to play well in the summer and maybe that’s how they feel,” McGeeney said.
“One good thing is that they (the players) are going to have a good night tonight, there is good spirit in there and the craic was good with them,” he added.
“It has been all year, despite what some people might think, training has been very enjoyable, there seems to be very good spirit with the fellas, they are starting to take ownership of it which is hopefully the way forward,” he said.
Roll on the summer.