Mickey Harte hints at lessons still to be learned by Tyrone for next season
Normally, a manager just after losing an All-Ireland final will talk for around five minutes. Even on Brian Cody’s winning days, he wasn’t in this long.
But Tyrone manager Mickey Harte fielded questions for nine minutes before time was called by a Croke Park staff member.
And in all he said, he was careful to add a rejoinder something along the lines of; “Dublin were full value for what they did there today. They are a very good side and can play football any way you want to play it.”
Oh, but things might have been so different only for the lack of coping skills Tyrone seem to have when it comes to Dublin. Harte’s players leapt into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead in the opening quarter, during which time Dublin set about re-aligning their formation.
Harte’s best-laid plans went up in smoke.
“This whole process is an experiment anyway, you do what you think is going to give you an advantage and you do what you think will cause trouble to their set up... Having the capacity to do it the way you want to do it is another thing.”
Once they did, their ship was steadied by a penalty decision. As tempting as it might have been for Harte to cling to, he didn’t really.
“I only saw it on live time. I didn’t have any replay of it or anything else. In live time it looked to me like a serious attempt to block the ball but I don’t know. I’m sure a closer view on the television will confirm or deny that,” he said.
“Getting over one goal takes a bit of time and knocks you back a bit, but the second goal came with a wee bit of a catalogue of things that might have been different.”
You can slice and dice the analysis all day, but Tyrone had 10 more wides than Dublin, because they took on shots from a difficult angle or, in the case of Lee Brennan and Peter Harte, had to take a shot with their right feet rather than their preferred left.
“That’s so disappointing, you know,” said Harte of the wides tally.
“Again, you might say Dublin put you under pressure and they don’t give you the shots from the good places.
“That’s true to a degree but I think we made some very poor choices across the course of the game and if we had even taken half of those out of the script then things could have been very different but it’s a learning exercise for our players.”
In the second half Tyrone had to go chasing the game. Putting Colm Cavanagh on the edge of the Dublin square yielded a successful penalty but he went a long time until the first delivery was sent in. Perhaps it might have been done earlier?
“It’s one of those things with hindsight you might say would have been a good idea,” Harte said.
“It’s not what we usually base our game around, it’s something new for our players to do, we don’t play that kind of game, we don’t normally have that kind of personnel in around the box that you would play that kind of ball into… At the time we did it, we felt it was the right thing to do, the results we got proved that it was a good enough move.”