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Harte looking forward to a feast after ending famine

Star man: boss Mickey Harte paid tribute to Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh
Star man: boss Mickey Harte paid tribute to Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Mickey Harte dispensed with blether to get down to business at the end of this match.

"You're never pleased to concede 2-17. Generally, if you're doing that, you'll not win the game so we have to be wary of that. Donegal will be watching that and saying if Cavan can punch 2-17, then we have a chance.

"It is definitely a cause for concern but it is as it is and it's something for us to learn from. If we don't, we won't win the Ulster title."

Those of us on the job for longer than we might care to remind ourselves can remember back to 2010, the last time Tyrone carried the Anglo-Celt out of the ground.

Fattened by All-Ireland success of recent times, it became almost fashionable to get the cup out of sight as soon as you raised it. Everything became part of 'the bigger picture', which was winning Sam Maguire.

It's clear the years of absence have been felt among the bushes.

"It's strange how that becomes the beat on the street in Tyrone," reflected Harte. "I came through lots of years in Tyrone football and Ulster finals weren't on the horizon. Now it becomes a famine if you are not there in six years. Hopefully we have ended that famine we are back in the final. But a final without a cup, it's not great to get over a famine if you don't have something to eat at the end of it."

After opening up the early lead, Harte acknowledged that Cavan played a part in their own downfall. "We could be playing a more compact defence," he said.

"I think Cavan played with abandon at a certain stage there. I suppose they had to chase the game at half-time - you can't defend a seven-point deficit. So they had to come out and attack and by coming out to attack, it created space for us to exploit. And because we had that good lead, they had to come out and that gave us the opportunity to do something better."

And a final word on the magnificent Sean Cavanagh. "Sean Cavanagh is Sean Cavanagh. Look at the career he has behind him, look at the years he has been putting in great performances for Tyrone," said Harte.

"When you need a ball fetched he can do that as well. So he has some repertoire of skills in his armoury and it is great that a player like that, you couldn't beat it."

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