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Tyrone have to keep foot on the pedal in Super8s, says Harte


Clarion call: Mickey Harte (left, with Cathal McShane after defeating Kildare) is urging his side to be more clinical in closing out games
Clarion call: Mickey Harte (left, with Cathal McShane after defeating Kildare) is urging his side to be more clinical in closing out games
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is focussing strongly on ensuring that his side go into Saturday's crucial Super8s contest against Roscommon in a positive mood.

Roscommon's success in clinching the Connacht Championship title and their fiery overall approach under manager Anthony Cunningham has fuelled the notion that, with home advantage at Dr Hyde Park, they could prove a major obstacle for the Red Hands.

For his part, even though he was pleased to see the manner in which his side despatched Cavan from the fourth round of the qualifiers last weekend, Harte has invited his side to focus on games earlier in the season in which they encountered difficulty in seeing off opponents.

"There have been occasions this year when we have taken our foot off the pedal and allowed teams we were playing to get back into games. They were then able to finish with a more respectable score than we would have liked them to have had," points out Harte.

"We can't afford to do that in the Super8s where the intensity will certainly be upped considerably. We have to be aware of that, and I think it is that idea that if you are in control of a game then you shouldn't lose that control.

"I think we showed against Cavan that we would keep going right to the end and that's what we will have to do for as long as we are involved in the current Championship."

Tyrone's sublime finishing against Cavan in particular has boosted Harte's confidence ahead of Saturday's showdown, but he is conscious that Roscommon will pose a big threat, not just because they will be playing on their own patch but because of the enhanced self-belief which has been manifesting within their ranks in recent times.

The Red Hands sprinted out of the traps to overpower Cavan in the opening quarter at Clones last Sunday and Harte is keen to see his side repeat this opening salvo against a Roscommon side that is expected to enjoy huge support following their impressive Championship wins over Mayo and Galway.

Galway had been initially expected to make it into the Super8s, but their slip-up against Mayo last Sunday brought the curtain down on their season.

Yet although his team clinched the Connacht title, Roscommon manager Anthony Cunningham confirms that since that triumph his team have been concentrating on brushing up areas of their play in which he felt they fell short in coming up trumps at provincial level.

"I said after we beat Galway in the Connacht final that we had some improving to do and we have been working on aspects of our play which were not maybe what they should have been," states Cunningham.

The Red Hands were able to bring on a battery of substitutes last weekend, with Ben O'Donnell grabbing the only goal of the match in the closing stages and Conal McCann snapping up a point.

Kyle Coney and Connor McAliskey were also influential but Harte has put his options on hold as he waits to see if his nephew Peter Harte will be available for the game.

The three black cards which he has received in the course of the Championship season to date - against Donegal, Longford and Cavan - are being appealed, and there is a strong feeling that at least one of these will be rescinded thus freeing him up to play on Saturday.

Belfast Telegraph


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