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'There's good points and some...
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'There's good points and some that can be better' - Mickey Harte on Super 8s

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

03:18 5 Aug 2019

 

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has given his opinion of the Super 8s as they draw to a close and the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship reaches the semi-final stage. 

The Red Hand Boss made a massive 15 changes to his side for their dead rubber against Dublin on Sunday.

Social media threw up mixed reactions with some saying it was a clever move considering they knew they had just a week to prepare for a semi-final while others said it showed a sense of disrespect to the game.

Whatever way you look at, it highlights a flaw in the Super 8s that perhaps needs to be addressed should the system be kept beyond its three-year pilot phase.

Harte spoke to Off the Ball's Stephen Doyle after their 6 point loss to five-in-a-row chasing Dublin about the set-up and the fact that of four games this weekend only one meant anything.

"I think there's lots of things that are quite good about it and maybe things that could be better.

"That's what experimental set-ups are for, a three-year experiment, then people will review it when that's over and decide how it can be made better or if it needs to be changed in a bigger way. That's how it panned out this year.

"The last game last year there was a lot riding on ours too, so sometimes it happens that way but I don't think that should be the full reason why it should be thrown out.

"I think people need time to reflect on why these things happen and could you do anything to avert that happening. Maybe you can't, maybe you can, maybe there's little things to be done to make it better, sure let's wait and see."

Harte, who has guided his county to all three of their Senior All-Ireland victories, defended his decision to make such sweeping changes afterward.

"The players were on the road for five weeks in a row and they were working hard to win games, must-win games all the way and I think the players who were playing most of that time deserved a bit of a break and I think the six or seven day turnaround was always something that was in our mind as well.

"We wanted to be able to have some more of our players fresher from that game since we already qualified."

"I think it was still a mighty contest and that's what the squads were about.

"Dublin had plenty of players to call on who hadn't got a lot of game time, we had the same and I don't think anybody watching that game was disappointed.

"I think it was a very entertaining game, lots of high-quality football and I heard plenty of noise that you'd hear at any exciting game so I think we offered a lot today; both teams."

When asked whether any of the 15 involved in Sunday's game will get a look-in for their last-four showdown with Kerry next weekend Harte didn't rule it out.

"Everything is possible, they were fighting for places, that's what they were fighting for today - to get a place in the 15 or the 26 and we're delighted with the effort they made."

Much has been made of the quick turn-around the semi-finalists face this year with the losers in Omagh actually gaining a day to prepare for their next game. Harte though says they weren't considering this heading into the game.

"We weren't in the business of choosing that, we were just in the business of trying to do the best we could. It happens to be a seven day turn around and that's fine but it wouldn't have stopped us trying to win the game."

The game was described by some as the coma in Omagh.

It may have been Dublin's smallest winning margin in some time but it didn't go too far in convincing you their five-in-a-row challenge can be stopped anytime soon.

Harte, realistically knowing it'll be two different outfits should these two meet again, had a sense of optimism looking forward.

"They've to play in a semi-final, we've to play a semi-final so there's three teams vying to do that at the minute so one of them have to take a shot at it anyway."

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