Mickey Harte claims Sean Cavanagh was a 'victim' as Mayo boss praises his players

Mickey Harte claims Sean Cavanagh was a 'victim' as Mayo boss praises his players

By Francis Mooney

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford admitted his nerves were shredded as his side sought to close out a tight game by holding possession.

It almost went badly wrong as ball was coughed up, but Tyrone were unable to convert the opportunities they were given, and the Connacht men held out to win by a single point, 0-13 to 0-12, and book their place in a sixth successive All-Ireland semi-final.

“That’s certainly something that we need to improve on. We just didn’t play the game in that last stretch, the right area of the field that we should have been playing it, a little bit deep in Tyrone’s half. We asked them to come on to us,” said Rochford.

Mickey Harte claims Sean Cavanagh was a 'victim' as Mayo boss praises his players

“But we have an opportunity over the next two weeks to improve on that.

“Darren McCurry got a shot off, Niall Morgan had a free, so we coughed up opportunities for that game to be level, and maybe even the potential; to have lost it.

The Mayo boss felt that they should have been awarded a free that would have given them a greater cushion going into those closing stages.

“I think on the ebb and flow of the game, I thought we could have had a free ourselves down in the left corner, on Andy Moran, when we had gone the point up, and maybe that would have afforded us an opportunity to increase the gap.

Mickey Harte claims Sean Cavanagh was a 'victim' as Mayo boss praises his players

“But I’m not going to criticise the lads, they have gone through a tough couple of weeks and they have shown a strong resilience, and we’re into an All-Ireland semi-final.”

Meanwhile, Tyrone boss Mickey Harte was angry at the double yellow card dismissal of his skipper Sean Cavanagh.

Harte felt Cavanagh was targeted, particularly for his first booking, the result of an incident involving Lee Keegan before the ball was thrown in for the second half.

“I know this for sure, that Sean Cavanagh doesn’t go looking for cards, never did in his whole career, and it seems a shame that he be a victim of somebody else enticing him into that kind of arena,” said Harte.

“He never went looking for a card in his life, and I can say that without fear of contradiction, one hundred per cent.

“It seems a shame that a man, at this stage of his career, who has given so much to our game, should fall victim to that kind of stuff.

“If a forward wants to go and attack, and it ends up a wrestling match, it’s not likely that the forward instigates that."

Harte added: “In a game of that nature and how tight it was, to lose a man like Sean, we just didn’t lose any players, we lost our captain, we lost the most experienced player that we have, and it put us under severe pressure.”


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