Mickey Harte keeps his silence after time runs out on Tyrone

Tony Donnelly says Tyrone boss unhappy with referee Eddie Kinsella for allowing just two minutes of extra-time

Mickey Harte has never not spoken to the media after a game before, not as far as any of us could remember anyway.

Yet he left the duties to Tony Donnelly afterwards and when approached as he walked to the team bus very firmly waved us away. The source of his ire wasn't hard to pinpoint – he'd gone onto the pitch to confront referee Eddie Kinsella at the final whistle. "I think possibly we felt there could have been more than two minutes allocated," said Donnelly.

“And then there was a stoppage in additional time. As well as that, there was a throw-up and we won the ball but he didn’t let that play finish. We were breaking forward and could possibly have got the equaliser. That was the cause of the frustration and exasperation at the final whistle.”

Monaghan won’t give it a second thought. For them, this was about finding a way to get over the line against a team that has had them under the thumb for 26 years.

“You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t have some effect on you,” said Malachy O’Rourke. “If you lose to the same team so many times, if you come near to beating them but you don’t beat them, it’s only natural that it becomes an obstacle you have to try and clear. It’s just great relief for everyone involved and for players who have suffered those defeats in the past.

“There’s no doubt it was part of the build-up. We had to make sure it wasn’t going to be something that would stop us winning. We had to make sure the players were focusing on this game and not worrying about the past. There was no point pretending that we hadn’t a bad record against Tyrone. It was a psychological one that we wanted to get over.”

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times

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