Advertisement

'Did that look like a team in disharmony?' - Harte

Derry manager Mickey Harte has dismissed suggestions of disharmony in his side after Saturday's crucial victory over Westmeath.

Knowing only victory would earn progression to the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-finals, Derry battled to a 2-7 to 0-9 win in Newry thanks to goals by Conor McCluskey and Emmett Bradley.

The victory ended a run of three successive defeats as the pressure began to pile on last year's semi-finalists.

"Did that look like a team out there in disharmony?," Harte told BBC Sport NI.

"Did that look like a team who were pulling against each other or pulling against not wanting a result?

"Look at the effort those boys put in for the last 75 minutes. I think that would answer anybody's questions about whether these boys are in harmony or not."

Despite the outside pressure that was building on Harte and Derry, the three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone said it had not seeped into the Oak Leafers' camp, adding: "If you don't read it then it can't hurt you".

"I'm not in the thick of all that argument and dialogue that goes on. I've said this for a long time now, this is the best way to deal with the people who are trying to annoy people on those platforms.

"I don't care what they say about me. Maybe other people read and it and some of my family wouldn't like to read it, but I don't read them so they won't hurt me."

'We're talking about winning matches, not the All-Ireland'

Derry will find out their opponents in the preliminary semi-final draw on Monday morning but Harte admits just being in the draw "is the only thing that matters".

Possible draws include Harte's former sides Tyrone and Louth.

"We didn't want anything other than the right result tonight to keep us alive," he added.

"We knew we were going to somebody's back yard and any of those back yards aren't overly inviting.

"We're glad to be going to somewhere".

Harte added that is was important for Derry, who won the Division One title earlier in the year, to get back to winning ways after being placed in the "last-ditch saloon".

The 72-year-old admitted the confidence of the Oak Leafers had taken a hit after the defeats by Donegal in the Ulster Championship and Armagh and Galway in the All-Ireland.

He also accepted that Derry had been leaking too many goals and his tactical approach was about "doing what I think is right in the moment", adding that "I hope we've learnt from that and we get the balance right in how and when the keeper comes out".

"We had a difficult three games where we conceded too many goals and we didn't play with the confidence that took us to the top of the league.

"It takes a while to get that back and it was a struggle right through that game. We didn't expect anything other than a tough struggle here.

"The important thing was that we scored goals and didn't concede any. When you put those things together then it gives you a great chance of being on the right side of the outcome."

Peter Fitzpatrick, Louth's chairman, said ahead of the game that Harte had departed the county to manage Derry because of his aspirations to win another All-Ireland.

When asked if he felt Derry was the place to do that, Harte said "you can't talk about All-Irelands" in an era when Dublin and Kerry have dominated.

"Is there potential there? You would say yes. I think there is potential in a number of counties, but there is work to be done for anybody who wants to fulfil that potential," he added.

"Derry have been showing signs of being up near that zone in the last few years. If we were able to add value to that and bring it to the next level then they would be closer to that.

"They are saying about winning the All-Ireland, we are talking about winning matches at the minute."