All-Ireland SFC Quarter-Final
Tyrone haven’t graced the All Ireland final stage since their 2008 win, but they will take some stopping on this evidence, after Mickey Harte’s charges swept Armagh aside at Croke Park.
Armagh’s run through the qualifiers was ended in emphatic fashion by the Red Hand, with Harte citing Tyrone’s three-point defeat at the hands of Armagh in their 2014 All Ireland qualifier meeting at Healy Park as all the motivation Tyrone needed going into last Saturday’s quarter-final.
They probably didn’t need the extra motivation to be fair – the fact that it’s been nine years since they last lifted Sam was probably motivation enough – but if that 2014 loss did add a little extra fuel to Tyrone’s fire then the revenge they extracted on poor Armagh might be perceived as heavy-handed.
Tyrone were simply ruthless as they put the Orchard county to the sword.
“We were very disappointed to lose in Omagh in that particular game,” said Harte. “So you have to store those things up and bring them forward to use when you can.
“But you can’t depend on it either, you have to have quality players who are prepared to put their bodies on the line and get those results.
“No amount of mental wanting to win will make it happen, the players have got to physically go out and make it happen.
“We walked out of here at this same stage last year after losing to Mayo and we were not happy people because we had put a lot into the year up to that and we’d played enough football that day to at least get a second chance and we didn’t get it.
“That’s soul-destroying when you think of the work and time and energy that these boys put in.
“This has been brewing in us for a year and we’re very happy to have been able to get back and to give ourselves a chance to be playing later in August.”
Harte, though, was keen to play down the margin and ease of Tyrone’s victory, saying his side should and did “expect to win with a bit to spare”.
Peter Harte’s 15th minute penalty extended Tyrone’s lead to eight points, and they led Armagh 1-8 to 0-4 by half-time. Substitute David Mulgrew, a 44th minute replacement for Conall McCann, finished things off in the second half with a brace of goals.
All of which made for a comfortable victory for Harte’s men over Kieran McGeeney’s side, who were no match for their Ulster neighbours.
“I felt that we were good enough to have the type of score difference that we had throughout the Ulster campaign because I felt that we were in a better place than Armagh,” Harte added.
“They were a side that had done very well after losing the first round in Ulster and they gained a bit of momentum.
“But you have to look at the reality of it and the reality was that they played their football in Division 3 – we played our football in Division 1. We would expect to be ahead of them.”
Scorers for Tyrone: David Mulgrew 2-1, Peter Harte 1-2 (1-0 pen), Sean Cavanagh 0-4 (0-3f), Mark Bradley 0-3, Niall Morgan 0-2, 2f, Colm Cavanagh 0-1, Tiernan McCann 0-1, Declan McClure 0-1, Mattie Donnelly 0-1, Darren McCurry 0-1
Scorers for Armagh: Rory Grugan 0-3 (0-2f), Niall Grimley 0-1 (0-1f), Mark Shields 0-1, Gavin McParland 0-1, Jamie Clarke 0-1, Paul Hughes 0-1.
TYRONE: Niall Morgan; Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, Cathal McCarron; Tiernan McCann, Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte; Colm Cavanagh, Declan McClure; Mattie Donnelly, Niall Sludden, Conal McCann; Mark Bradley, Sean Cavanagh, Kieran McGeary. Subs: David Mulgrew for C McCann (44), Darren McCurry for McGeary (44), Rory Brennan for McCrory (51), Ronan O’Neill for Bradley (51), Richard Donnelly for McClure (58), Justin McMahon for Colm Cavanagh (59).
ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; James Morgan, Charlie Vernon, Paul Hughes; Brendan Donaghy, Mark Shields, Joe McElroy; Stephen Sheridan, Niall Grimley; Rory Grugan, Ciaran O’Hanlon, Aidan Forker; Jamie Clarke, Gavin McParland, Stefan Campbell. Subs: Oisin O’Neill for O’Hanlon (30), Anthony Duffy for Shields (33, black card), Ethan Rafferty for Campbell (46), Ben Crealey for McParland (51), Ciaran McKeever for Grimley (56), Darren McKenna for Sheridan (59, black card). R Grugan black card, 65, not replaced.