Dubs coming to town ‘a big occasion’-Harte

VICTORY or defeat will only have the most minor of consequences for either team as Tyrone prepare to once again host the all-conquering Dubs at Healy Park on Sunday.

Everyone will have their own particular views on how this latest high profile clash against the reigning Sam Maguire holders should be approached. Some say a win is vital to send out a message of intent that Dublin are beatable. Others, and maybe more may well hold the view that it’s better to hold the cards close to the chest as the countdown begins to the All-Ireland semi-final.

The only people, of course, who know for sure, are the management and players up at the Tyrone GAA Centre in Garvaghey. Suffice to say, that there are understandably precious few secrets coming from there as Healy Park is prepared for the sell-out clash.


The options available for team manager, Mickey Harte are straightforward. Lose and it’s most likely to be Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday August 11, win and Donegal or Mayo await at the penultimate stage.

Nevertheless, there is still going to be strong element of competitiveness and the prospect of inflicting a first championship defeat on the Dubs since 2014 is certainly a tantalising one for the Red Hands.

But thoughts such as that won’t be entertained by the management or players as they prepare for this significant tussle.

“We’ve had plenty of gametime during the past four or five weeks, so we’ll not be playing any in-house games in preparation for Dublin,” he said.

“There’s no answer at the moment to what way this game is approached. It has been a case of seeing how the bodies are after the win over Cork, how many people are fit for much more and whether there are others who might need a rest.

“At least now I feel that those options are open to us now that we’ve got through to the semi-final.

“This year will see us play our fifth All-Ireland semi-final this decade and we’re very proud of that fact, as well as the fact that it’s the first time a Tyrone team has progressed to an All-Ireland semi-final for three years running.


“For a team that isn’t much thought off in many circles, that is a good return. I think we’ve come on as a team as well, adding value to the players who are there and some of those who are breaking through are making a good impact.

“Cathal McShane is a bonus to us at the moment as well. He wasn’t stationed where he is now last year, so there are definitely a few pluses and positives.

“There is a another year of maturity in this team and maybe that is what told in the end against Cork because I think we’re a more developed side at this stage than they were.”

Sunday’s tie might have only limited meaning in the greater scheme of things, but Mickey Harte is also in no doubt that Dublin coming to Omagh is a big occasion for the town and Healy Park as well.

“The town of Omagh will certainly be glad to see Dublin because they’re a wonderful travelling crowd. They enjoy the games and bring a lot of colour and energy to a venue,” he added.

“They are very welcome people to be in our county. I know last year people were raving about the carnival atmosphere within Omagh, but unfortunately they took the win home with them on that occasion.

“Still, they are a great crowd and they do a lot for the GAA.”


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