Mickey Harte delighted to earn semi-final success
By Cian O’Connell
Since Tyrone’s great summer of 2008 Mickey Harte’s charges have suffered four All Ireland semi-final losses. That is why Harte was so content to clear the penultimate hurdle at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.
Niall Sludden’s late goal was the critical score as Tyrone set up a decider against Dublin next month with Harte delighted by how his team delivered.
“It is just like this day we have been waiting for a long time and working towards,” Harte reflected in his post match press briefing.
“We had to be very patient, we were knocking on the door getting to decent places, but we could never get to the final. We can't be too pleased about all of that because getting to a final is one thing. There is something to be won in the final and we have to knuckle down to do our very best to make a game of this final.
“The public need it and Tyrone people need it to make us take a bite at this final. We haven't great memories of our semi-final against Dublin here last year so we need to be so much better than that. If we are it should be a much better game and who knows what could happen?”
Harte highlighted Sludden’s intervention in the closing stages just after Monaghan had hit the front for the first time.
“A goal was always going to be a big score in this game because it was so tight,” Harte acknowledged.
“A goal was a major score, thankfully we got it and we needed every last point from it to the end there. I just think it is a credit to the boys.
“They didn't lie down to the fact that they were creating plenty in the first half, but not getting the value of it on the scoreboard. That can be quite debilitating on their whole mindset. They lived with that and continued to work really hard, they battled their way through that second half.
“It was anybody's game. I feel for Monaghan, of course, because we have been there four times in the last five.
“We have lost our previous four so we are well aware of how they feel and I have to empathise with them about that, but we needed this so badly. Ten years is a long time and on our fifth attempt to get to the final we felt as a group we needed to be in this Final.”