Tyrone guaranteed their place in the All-Ireland SFC semifinals with a 2-15 to 2-12 win over Cork in Croke Park on Saturday evening, but manager Mickey Harte wasn’t even thinking about the dead rubber clash with Dublin on Sunday, August 4 after this victory.
Cork and Roscommon are both out of the running to emerge from the Super 8s after Saturday’s double-header at headquarters, meaning Dublin and Tyrone will only be jockeying for bragging rights in Omagh.
The Red Hand had trailed the Rebels by five points at the interval, 2-4 to 0-5, so Harte was happy enough just to enjoy the win when asked about the meaning or lack of it of his next encounter with the Dubs.
“Well, we don’t really have to give an answer to that right now,” said Harte when asked by the media how he would prepare to play the All-Ireland champions.
“We’ll see how the bodies are after that and we’ll see how many people are fit for much more or if some people need a break or a rest. At least now I feel that the options are open to us.”
Second-half goals from Cathal McShane and Peter Harte, from the penalty spot, plus three points from the impressive Mattie Donnelly made all the difference for Tyrone.
“We’re in three All-Ireland semi-finals in-a-row, I don’t think ever in our history we’ve done that before so for a team that isn’t much thought of in many circles, I think that’s a good return,” added Harte who welcomed the two-week gap before the Dublin visit.
Luke Connolly and James Loughrey scored the goals as Cork dominated the opening period, but they just didn’t have the cuteness to cope with Tyrone’s power in the final quarter.
Manager Ronan McCarthy, whose side meet Roscommon next with nothing to play for, admitted, “Our regret would be, I thought we managed the game very well in the first half, textbook really, we were very patient.
“It wasn’t pretty on the eye but that is not our fault. And then we started the second-half quite well, but then when they had their period of dominance, we conceded too much.
“You win together and you lose together, but they’ll stick together, and I think that is the key thing. In relation to the Roscommon game, we are at a point where we can’t turn our nose up at any game.”