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Tyrone manager Mickey Harte on All Ireland SFC Final day.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte on All Ireland SFC Final day.

Mickey Harte: 'They fought to the bitter end'

By Cian O'Connell

A game that commenced in such encouraging fashion ended in deep disappointment for Tyrone, with manager Mickey Harte highlighting the importance of Dublin’s burst before the break.

Tyrone had edged into a four point advantage initially, but Dublin goals from Paul Mannion and Niall Scully ensured the All Ireland champions eventually trotted off at the interval armed with a seven point cushion.

“It was a really positive start, it seemed such a shame that we were so far behind in such a short space of time,” Harte reflected.

“So small things - the game turns or hinges on small things. We had been 0-5 to 0-1 up and even in that time we had a few bad shot selections, I think if we had went six up or if we had retained possession then who knows what kind of a trend the game would have taken.

“We didn't, we were 0-5 to 0-1 up and suddenly it was 2-6 to 0-5 in a very short period of time. That is very disappointing given the way we opened the game. I thought we were doing very well in the opening stages of the game.

“Seven points at half-time seemed a shame for the effort the boys put in during the first half of that half. Then in the second half it is always damage limitation to a degree. You try to get back at the opposition, but they are a quality side.

“Even when we get a few scores they can pick a few more and they are always keeping you at arms length. I think the credit our boys deserve is that they didn't allow this be the battering it was last year, they fought until the bitter end.

“Even in that comeback we had chances to close the gap better than we did, we didn't do it and you pay the price against a quality side. I just can't fault the players for the effort they put in.”

The Tyrone boss praised Dublin, who secured a fourth All Ireland title on the spin at GAA headquarters. “On the field you could see the disappointment in every player because they gave a lot out there and because of the really good start we had.

“Dublin were full value for what they did today, they are a very good side and can play football any way you want to play it,” Harte added.

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