Wednesday 13 December 2017

Harte: We paid penalty for letting Westerners back in

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

FOR a few moments in the first half in Croke Park yesterday, it looked very much as if Tyrone were going to do it again.

The Red Hands: ruining the best laid plans and dreams of All-Ireland contenders since 2003.

Yet all year, you got the impression of a team extracting the maximum possible output from themselves just to get this far and even if they traditionally revel against teams supposedly on a collision course with glory, Mayo are just a little bit different this year.

Then, they lose Peter Harte. And then, Stephen O'Neill.

They concede a penalty, undeservedly. And then they get denied one themselves for an apparent foot block.

That's just too many setbacks for one team to endure and still spring a surprise.

"You would have to say approaching half-time when we were seven-three up, I don't think anybody would have read the script that way," admitted Mickey Harte afterwards.

"It was just unfortunate from our perspective that we let them back in for three points before half-time, which gave them a position going in at half-time that they probably didn't deserve."

Mayo's penalty?

"I saw it in live time from the sideline, I wasn't very close to it.

"People involved are much closer to it, it was they who had to make the call. They made the call that it was a penalty, I don't know if television coverage or replays tell you if it was a penalty," said the Tyrone manager.

Tyrone's non-penalty?


"I was probably a bit nearer to that one than the other one. I wondered why the ball didn't go into the net because it was a clear goal chance and someone did come across.

"Whether it's considered a foot block or not, for us it doesn't matter because the person who had the chance to make that decision decided that it wasn't and we have to go with that.

"If you asked us at the start of the year would we sustain our place in division one, get to the league semi-final and final, running Dublin to a point, make our way through the championship to the last four, you'd say yes, I'll take that.

"That's not a bad return for a group that is very, very different from the last number of years.

"So you'd have to say 'yes, there is a degree of satisfaction, but a lack of silverware'.

"It was different a couple of years ago," reflected Seán Cavanagh, Tyrone's character of the summer in every regard.

"We played Dublin here and we came out and were deflated because you knew you were beaten by a side that was much superior to our side that night.

"You have to hold your hands up to that sometimes, but sitting there today you have regrets because you know if a couple of big calls or breaks went our way we could have come out of here winning this game."

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