Former Tyrone player, Owen Mulligan believes Mickey Harte will have Tyrone’s young players full prepared for the All Ireland final on Sunday against Dublin.
The Paddy Power GAA ambassador and columnist with Paddy Power News, was involved with the winning squads in 2003, ’05 and 08 and while it has been 10 years since their last final appearance, he does not believe inexperience will be a factor.
“There’s only two, Colm Cavanagh and Cathal McCarron [involved in previous All Ireland squads] so I think they’ll have a lot to do with it as well. Harte likes in team meetings for the older boys to speak and speak of their experience whether losing or winning. The young lads, they’ve won minors, they’ve won U21’s and they’ve won colleges. They’re used to winning. He says they’re the most committed bunch he’s ever met. Monday club was us taking a beer. The Monday club is them in the gym.”
The 37-year-old insists that Harte will instil self-belief in the younger players as they look to emulate the success of the previous decade.
“They have self-belief anyway in their fitness and I don’t think teams stay with Dublin for the last 20 minutes, the last 10 minutes so that’s why Harte makes you feel 10-foot tall. He puts an arm around you. He’s won it and he’ll be saying, ‘look at me, look what I’ve done, now it’s your time’. That’s why, as a county, we’re all behind them. New heroes have to be born here. We’ve walked the walk, we’re pushing these boys to emulate that.”
Tyrone fans have been vocal in their criticism of how their team have performed in the last 10 years and there were calls for Harte to step aside on a number of occasions during that period. Mulligan explains that while the supporters demand the best, they are fully behind the current team.
“Tyrone supporters have got ignorant over the years, they expect the best. Ulster medals and Ulster finals don’t cut it anymore and that’s how far we’ve come as a county. It’s been too long, it’s been 10 years, that’s too long. I remember Ulster finals you’d be roared onto the pitch and they did that last year and it’s great to see but Tyrone expect to be dining at the top table every year and they should be.”
“Harte’s so cute. He didn’t really do interviews after the Monaghan game and then he says, ‘where’s all the flags, where’s all the bunting?’ next of all, bang! Everywhere’s plastered. That’s the way you want it, it’s back to the old days and it’s been far too long. We’ve built a state-of-the-art training facility, Garvaghy, it’s state-of-the-art like a soccer team in England would be proud of it. That was built to get to All Ireland finals, that wasn’t built to be knocked out of semi-finals and finals, winning Ulster finals, that was built to win Sam Maguire so when you’re investing money into that, you want the best for your team and this is what should happen in Tyrone.”