Former Tyrone sharpshooter Owen Mulligan believes that his “shrewd” former manager, Mickey Harte will have a plan up his sleeve to rectify the mistakes his team made in their last outing against Monaghan.
The reigning champions were knocked out of the Ulster championship by Malachy O’Rourke’s side in May, in a game that saw Peter Harte receive a straight red and Paddy Power GAA ambassador, Mulligan is adamant that Mickey Harte will be out for revenge.
“Mickey Harte is a shrewd manager. He hates getting beat. He will relish the chance to right the wrongs from Tyrone’s Ulster Championship encounter with Monaghan, and he’ll have learned so much from that game.”
“In all his time as Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has only been beaten in a replay once and that was in 2005 against Armagh. We then went on to beat that side in the semi-final before going on to win the All-Ireland. This game will boil down to which manager will learn the most from their previous encounter and no manager takes more out of these games than Harte. Trust me on that.”
Despite his confidence in a Monaghan win, the former All Star forward has been impressed by Monaghan this summer and the system with which they play.
“They’ve played some big teams and beat them as well, which is always a good sign. Momentum can be huge for teams at this stage of the Championship and in Malachy O’Rourke they have one of the shrewdest operators in the country.
“He has them playing a system that suits his players and they have the best forward in the country in Conor McManus. He really is special and everything goes through him. If he goes out the field they give it to him, he tackles, he’s a complete player and if Tyrone can stop him we’ve a great chance. McManus is a massive, massive threat and Tyrone will have him in their cross hairs this weekend.”
“They’ll be relishing taking on Tyrone, and they know what they’re about. Tyrone will be cautious but very confident at the same time.”
Tyrone showed great fight in the final round of the Super 8s to recover against, and eventually beat, Donegal and with a decent campaign from the three Ulster teams, Mulligan believes Ulster football is on the rise once more.
“They got a bit of grief for some of their defensive systems, but I found all the games good to watch. I really enjoyed Donegal and Tyrone, it was cagey but it our lads really cut loose at the end.Teams must play to their strengths and this is what Ulster teams do, they get called defensive but that doesn’t tally when you look at the scores they’re racking up.”
“I really think Ulster football is going in the right direction. The last couple of years were total shambles, but now we have a handful of teams that can win an Ulster title and competing for All-Ireland’s.”