Harte: Tyrone must adapt to reach Dublin’s level

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte says there is a realisation in his squad that they have to change how they approach the big matches in the championship, but he is also reluctant to dump the gameplan that earned his side a second Ulster championships in a row.

Harte’s side looked to be the team closest to Dublin’s standard for long periods of the summer as they hammered all round them in Ulster and scored a staggering 6-77 in four games en route to Croke Park.

But the three-time All-Ireland winning manager says his side were not prepared for such a whirlwind start from Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, which saw them seven points down after 30 minutes and eventually fall to a 2-17 to 0-11 loss.

“I suppose we need to be prepared to maybe have to deal with the unexpected in a better way. We didn’t anticipate that we would be four or five points down after eight or 10 minutes. It was never in our thinking so it was a bit of a shock to the system to find ourselves there,” said Harte. “You’d always change little things here and there but people think you have got to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and I don’t think that’s the case.

“I think the football we played all year served us very well in the four championship matches prior to the Dublin game. So you’d wonder why you’d do away with all of that, that served us well.

“What you have to do is keep thinking, keep adjusting and keep adding value to your game. If we do that and keep the good things we’re doing and learn from the thing that didn’t serve us well, then there will be obviously some changes to make that happen.

“I suppose we didn’t deal with anyone as competent as they were up to that point and we could probably afford to make a few errors here and there and get away with them.

“But at the level Dublin is at now, you don’t get away with those things. That’s the lesson: you have to be on your toes; you have to be thinking on your feet all the time; you have to be so focused.”

Harte says the Ulster champs will continue to build on a strong defence.

“I’m not going to give big details, but we have got to make sure that we don’t just abandon what’s served us well in terms of defensive strategy because the world and its mother says you need to be more attacking. We know we need to be more attacking on certain occasions.

“I keep telling people, since records began in 1940, the last two years have been the greatest winning totals of an offensive nature and that was Tyrone on both occasions. “In two of the years we have been berated for being negative. It’s all about perception isn’t it?”


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