TYRONE’S unbeaten run in 2012 was brought to a halt on Sunday afternoon, as Kildare ran out worthy winners, in their Allianz NFL Division Two final in Croke Park.
This game still hung in the balance heading into the last quarter but it was the Lilywhites who kicked seven unanswered scores to secure their first piece of silverware under the guidance of Kieran McGeeney.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte acknowledged at the full time whistle, that his team were beaten by a better side on the day.
“It was very simple; Kildare were the better team today. They won the game in the first half, despite the fact we had a decent breeze they were very much in the game, a point ahead at half time. The way they applied themselves to the game meant they got the result they did, you have to hold your hands up to them.”
Harte remained upbeat despite watching his side leave the silverware behind them, and believes Sunday’s result could be a great learning curve for many of the younger members of his new look panel.
“We can’t let one single game like today dismiss all the good work that has been done. The experience these players have gained across these matches will stand to them in the long term. Indeed defeats like this will stand to them to. You’d never choose to have them but I know in the past we’ve learnt an awful lot from defeats and defeats in finals. If that continues, then that will be okay. If we can do as well after this defeat as we did after some of the others, then I’ll take that.”
Tyrone will not dwell too much on the defeat, but they will look to what they can improve on from the game, as their focus now to turns to that mouth-watering opener, in Morgan’s Athletic Grounds, against fierce rivals Armagh. One less burden they will carry into that game, is their unbeaten tag in 2012, and Harte believes losing that may have its advantages, as long as they learn from their mistakes, especially the new kids on the panel.
“It’s always a setback when you lose, but a winning streak doesn’t go on forever, it does come to an end sometime. I’d prefer that it didn’t come to an end out there of course, but we now face the Ulster Championship and maybe that experience will serve us well. The lesson is that teams will watch what you do and they’ll be able to counteract your style of play.”
“The players we have involved, a number of them relatively new to what we are trying to do, have to learn, not only to play the game the way you want to play it, but to do that in the face of an opposition that may try to stop you doing what you are doing. You can’t learn that unless you are faced with it.”