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Subs breathed new life into team: Harte

By Declan Bogue

After the victory, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte recognised the impact of his trio of subs, Sean Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly and Ronan McNamee, brought on at half-time.

"It's always nice to have those kind of players available and they introduced themselves to the game quite quickly," he explained.

"I think that made a difference. With that Colm (Cavanagh) raised his standards, maybe because those men arrived, and he made a big difference in the second half.

"We had been losing lots of kick-outs and then we were winning them, either cleanly or on the break, and when you have that kind of forward momentum the opposition is under pressure, our defence isn't under as much pressure and it creates the opportunities for us to score and push on ahead and that's what we did."

With the Red Hands able to unload such an arsenal onto the pitch to stymie a Fermanagh performance that was impressive in its' effort and cohesion, Harte also conceded that Eoin Donnelly's second yellow card and dismissal with 28 minutes of the game left to play, was a huge factor.

He said: "When it's one of your leading players on the day and probably over the last number of seasons it makes it all the more difficult.

"But that happens, he got the second booking after carrying a yellow card and that's the danger of making rash tackles when you're on a yellow card. It was unfortunate for him on the day and it made a big difference for Fermanagh."

He now gears up for their third meeting with Derry this season in the final next Saturday night and when asked how much he is "looking forward to it", had a sly grin, answering: "I didn't say I was looking forward to it but that's what's happened."

Harte added: "We're going to play Derry again and that's fine.

"They've made their way to the final the same as us. They want to be playing games competitively at this time of year and they've got that chance now. Here we go again and it's all to play for in the final."

In the opposite technical area, Pete McGrath was understandably deflated. Already his Fermanagh side had taken care of Donegal and Down this January, and he would have had an eye on how the name of Tyrone would have looked like alongside those.

"We played poorly," the Rostrevor man stated.

"We had a lot of men who were not up to the same standard as they were up to on Wednesday night against Donegal. Needless to say, when Eoin Donnelly got sent off, whatever chance we had of winning the match went with him."

He continued: "Tyrone's movement, their understanding, their strength, all that kind of thing came into play and we were floundering in most areas of the field.."

He also warned that life in Division Two could consist of some tough love.

"This extra game we got today could be a very severe reality check for us.

"We have now got a fortnight to get our heads around what happened here today, reset and make sure we are ready for the first round of the National League in a fortnight's time, which is infinitely more important than the McKenna Cup."

Belfast Telegraph


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