20 Jan 2022

Harte looking to the positives of Antrim defeat ahead of Sunday's clash with Leitrim

Interview: Mickey Harte hopeful of returning lost confidence in Louth GAA as he takes the reigns this weekend

The Tyrone native is not being too hard of his players, but is expecting a reaction when they clash with Leitrim on Sunday (Throw in 3pm)

The first day back in the dugout for Mickey Harte didn’t go to plan, as his new tenure in charge of Louth started off with a gut-wrenching loss.

Yet after the final whistle, The Tyrone man reflected on plenty of positives from the game in which his his charges looked like winning for long periods, having twice came back from setbacks.

However in the back of his mind, he knows his troops will have to learn to eke out wins and that the loss in this fashion will hurt them.

“It was good to recover from the rocket blow of the goal which went against us and I suppose it showed a lot about the team and about their resilience to be able to deal with that” noted the experienced manager who is taking his first job after over a decade in charge of his own county.

“I suppose they would be very disappointed that having done that, coming back from beaten positions to get into pole position and lose it again, that’s the worst of it all, to not be capitalising when we went into the ascendency at a late stage, we have to be able to manage that better.”

With only a month of real preparation ahead of his first competitive game in charge of the Wee County, The Glencull native didn’t want to be too critical of his new team.

He gave three young players; Martin McEneaney, Donal McKenny and Sean Marry their debut in a Louth jersey and knows that it isn’t an easy transition to make, so will be giving them along with his more experienced stalwarts some time to readjust to what’s needed at Senior level.

“There is some very good footballers here, some new and young lads who gave it their best shot, Senior Football is not easy for a young lad but he has to mature, he has to develop physically and they often find the going tough, but that’s the name of the game.”

“You can’t ask too much, you cannot expect people to be at the top of their game when it is the first game after a 12 or more month break for some, so we won’t be too hard on anybody, it was difficult conditions out there, as the wind was quite swirling.”

Both sides ability to work within those conditions was a key part of the match, with Louth really struggling to get a grasp of it at times.

They finished up with eight wides, a key part of their downfall, yet the wily veteran that is Mickey Harte knows the team is a work in progress and is hopeful they can produce the goods against Leitrim on Sunday (Throw in 3pm) to reignite their promotion challenge.

“Nobody wants to kick wides, sometimes maybe people make the wrong choices when they are taking a shot, not waiting to get into a better place but you can’t hang anybody out to dry for that, the boys went out and did their best to try and get a result.”  

“It looked for a good part of that second half that they were capable of getting that win but the end result is we didn’t, so we are very much in the basement area now of this league and with two games to go, it is a real championship now. I would hope they would learn a lot from this game.”

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