Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA Tyrone

Harte duo not resting on their laurels

By John Campbell

Encountering one member of the Harte clan when opposing Tyrone generally proves too much for opponents.

But having to confront two fiercely-driven competitors from that particular family tree, currently at the top of their respective games, could prove a recipe for disaster.

Sligo are likely to discover this tomorrow when they meet the Red Hands in an All-Ireland qualifier tie, the winners of which will claim a place in the quarter-finals.

For the Yeats County, the Croke Park clash could hardly be coming at a worse time.

Humbled by Mayo in the Connacht final when they lost by 6-25 to 2-11 and ravaged by uncertainty since then, Niall Carew's beleaguered outfit must go head to head with a Tyrone side that, a minor fright against Meath apart, have sailed serenely through the qualifiers to date.

And while manager Mickey Harte continues to display his tactical nous, motivational rhetoric and thirst for more success, his nephew Peter pulls the strings within a team which responds superbly to his technique.

Over two months have elapsed since Tyrone bowed out of the Ulster Championship to Donegal but since then the Harte duo have done more than most to quell the doomsday prophecies in the aftermath of that setback.

Such is the enhanced level of ambition within the side as a whole that anything other than a handsome win tomorrow is deemed unthinkable - outside the Tyrone camp, that is. Inside, feet remain rooted to the ground.

Mickey Harte said: "If we play to our top level then I would not be scared of anyone but if we don't then I don't think many people would be scared of us either."

Tyrone's 'top level' is best epitomised by his nephew Peter.

His timely penalty goal against Meath ultimately proved the team's passport to victory while his dynamic input against Tipperary set the tone for the Red Hands' 12-point victory.

The younger Harte may have his hand on the tiller but he sees himself as nothing more than a hard-working crew member.

"The team ethic is everything," he stressed. "Everyone is putting their shoulder to the wheel and we have been taking things cautiously. Sligo will be hurting after that defeat in the Connacht final and will be looking for redemption."

Mickey added: "When you look at the Sligo full-forward line you see a unit that can be dangerous. If they are plied with possession, they can do damage."

Last year, Tyrone were hustled out of the qualifiers by Armagh in what was a sobering experience.

Given the memory of that embarrassment is still vivid, Sligo can expect very little leniency tomorrow - and certainly not from those bearing the Harte surname.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph