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We're in the hat but no one will be shaking in their boots: Harte

By Declan Bogue

Some days, on wet Ulster Saturday afternoons when summer seems permanently postponed, it's just about getting out of Dodge.

Wins like these require minimal scrutiny, the main thing is that you get in and get out and make sure that when they come to make the pairings this morning, your name comes out of the hat.

"All you can hope for is a home draw and after two in a row our luck has probably run out, even though we only had about three out of 20 before that," said Mickey Harte in the tunnels of Healy Park after the win.

It's clear that while Tyrone can play football in early August, they need to improve to be playing in late August. However, if there is a percentage figure, Harte is not revealing it.

"If you look back over the years even when you win things, you have days that are mediocre and not very good to look at, and there's a very small margin between living through games like that, and getting better. But the alternative is, you're not there at all, so you don't know how good you could have become," he said.

"The years you do well, you know that you stagger your way through certain rounds and if you have take advantage of staggering through enough rounds, then who knows when the switch will go on and we can play with that fluency for a longer period of time."

What he will maintain is that there is more in this team.

"I believe so," Harte said.

"Every day is a new day and every day is a new challenge and it is up to us to adapt to that challenge and get the best out of ourselves.

He might have stumbled upon something here when he sprang Tiernan McCann at half-time. Previous to that, Barry Tierney had been part of the defensive shell that had held Meath scoreless for 29 minutes. With Meath softened by the likes of Tierney, they might have been vulnerable to someone as direct as McCann. So it proved.

"Sometimes that happens, you make changes and there's evidence that it's working pretty quickly," Harte acknowledged.

"You do the same things on other days and they wouldn't work at all. That's the challenge of management. When it works, you're brilliant and when it doesn't, you're a fool."

And on McCann. "Well that is Tiernan's style of play," he said. "He was unlucky not to start the game but that's what he revels in, he loves direct running and carrying the ball and he was a big, big threat for us."

For overall artistry, this game ranked low, something that the pragmatist in Harte appreciated when he noted: "That's what you have to do in this qualifier system. In knockout games you have to play on days when you're not very fluent. It is all about a result. That may sounded cliched but in this particular situation, it is all about the result.

"People will always rate how you perform in the Championship and the jury is still out on how we rate. We are still in this Championship but I don't think anyone will be shaking in their boots if they were watching our performance today."

Belfast Telegraph

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