Harte underlines intention to stick to task for another season
‘We can’t argue about it. Armagh came and played well and dominated the game’
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte: “There is another year, under my current contract, and I intend to honour that.” Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho/Presseye.
Even if it must rank as one of the most disillusioning of days in his 12 seasons as Tyrone manager, Mickey Harte wasn’t all down about it, paying due respect to Armagh’s victory, and the fight of his own men, while underlining his intention to stick to his task for at least another season.
“There is another year, under my current contract, and I intend to honour that,” said Harte, looking more than a little forlorn in the doorway of the Tyrone dressing room.
“As you can imagine, it’s not very pleasant in there. It’s not a good day when you go out of the championship, your second chance is used up. We can’t argue about it. Armagh came and played well and dominated the game.
“They maybe got the rub of the green here and there, although I have to admire the energy our players put into it after Mattie Donnelly was sent off. We played our best football after that.
Belief“It’s to their credit to do that, and they worked continuously in the second half but a few things didn’t come off that we needed to keep in the game. We got the two points before half-time, which gave us a big belief that we could get something out of the game, and then we started the second half well.
“So it’s very disappointing, after the energy and effort they put into the second half, they didn’t get more out of it. But again Armagh were in a strong position, having an extra man, and being able to employ a full-time sweeper, and able to pick off enough scores to keep in front.”
Harte could have no complaint about Donnelly’s sending off, but wondered why he was singled out for the petty mass brawl that broke out shortly after the throw-in.
“I don’t think it was his instigation, but that’s what happens sometimes, when two people start to get involved, the ref books both of them. But I’m not going to blame that.”
While Harte answered the question about his own future, there is the question now for many of their so-called veterans, particularly the likes of Stephen O’Neill and Conor Gormley: “Well, they’d never answer that on a day like today,” suggested Harte.
“These men have given a lot to Tyrone and obviously they’ll take their time to decide what they want to do. It’s only right to give them that time and really nobody would be making any great decisions today.
“But in due course, everybody will look at their position and see if they have the heart, desire and will to give it another go. That’ll be something that’ll have to happen, in the weeks and months to come, and we’ll see where that takes us by next January.”
Tyrone will be back alright, but just not with the personnel we all once knew so well.