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Tyrone boss Mickey Harte believes team will be stronger after Dublin defeat

 

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte - who fully expects to be continuing in his role next year - believes Dublin are not an unbeatable side, despite the 12-point defeat to Jim Gavin's men in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final.

After the game, the retiring Sean Cavanagh marvelled at the physical strength of the Red Hands' opponents.

He stated: "Their power is mind blowing and we have spent an awful lot of time in gyms over the last couple of years under Peter Donnelly.

"We pushed our bodies to the very top end of the limits, and I believe we have phenomenal athletes in that team, but they were just breezing past our guys with ease."

Nobody could look at the physique of any of the Tyrone players and feel they are leaving anything to chance. But there was clear water between themselves and Dublin, the extent of which caught Harte by surprise.

"Before we played them, I didn't see the gap as that significant," he said.

"We must go away and do what we need to do. We as a group can do something that will give us the capacity to close that gap.

"Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. I believe we will be capable of coming back and reaching the level that is required out there."

Harte believes that the Dubs will be difficult to topple in the final, but Mayo shouldn't be written off.

"People have been writing Mayo off all year and the side have done the exact opposite on many occasions," said Harte.

"They've been on the ropes so many times and are still standing, and they had two mighty contests with Dublin last year so we'd be foolish now to be writing Mayo off.

"The standard Dublin played at, though, will make them very hard to beat."

Next year the format of the All-Ireland series will be very different with the introduction of what has become known as the 'Super-8s' format. The new set-up guarantees that Dublin will play the stronger teams outside of their Croke Park citadel.

With the quarter-finals seeing some very one-sided contests - as well as Sunday's semi-final - Harte believes that the new format will prove its worth.

"I think it's going to be worth an experiment. There are going to be some very entertaining games in that," he said.

"I think it's worth experimenting with something different because I have always been an advocate of the fact that those who win a provincial title need at least a second chance, same as everybody else.

"This is an alternative to a knock-out for a team that has won a provincial title and I think that is a good thing."

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