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Tyrone boss has ultimate respect for McGeeney

Mickey Harte has the greatest respect for his Armagh counterpart

A HAZE of nostalgia, a whiff of cordite and a golden opportunity to progress to an All-Ireland semi-final.
 
Ulster Champions Tyrone and a qualifier-tuned Armagh will renew their famous rivalry in Saturday’s last-eight clash in Croke Park.
 
Even the fairest of fairweather fans will be aware of the history between these two sides during the heady days of the noughties.
 
Much water has passed under the bridge since the glory days of 2003 and 2005, but there are a few familiar faces threading the generations.
 
Mickey Harte is a smidge greyer than the early years of his tenure but his inner steel remains intact.
 
He’s particularly scathing of Colm O’Rourke’s view that these two fierce rivals will ‘batter’ each other senseless on Saturday evening.
 
He said: “I think all they have to do is look back to the proposed bloodbath back in 2003. Maybe those same thoughts still prevail in some heads.
 
“Although the All-Ireland final ended in a 0-12 to 0-9 victory, it could’ve been much more. Both we and Armagh could’ve had a couple of goals and quality defending prevented that.
 
“Most of our games against Armagh were entertaining and memorable. As the old saying goes there’s none so blind as those who don’t want to see.”
 
Perhaps Harte sees something of himself in Kieran McGeeney, who has guided Armagh to four successive championship victories for the first time since 2003.
 
The Mullaghbawn man remained tight-lipped when he was banned from the sidelines for 12 weeks earlier in the season and has dodged his fair share of criticism during his three years in charge. Harte admires his single-mindedness.
 
Harte said: “Many people thought the ban was quite excessive. He didn’t say anything about it, he just took it and you have to respect that.
 
“That’s what I like about him, he’s a very single-minded, determined man and I have great respect for him.
 
“It depends how you measure success, if it’s only measured in trophies there’s going to be a lot of failed management teams.”
 
FULL PREVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S STRABANE CHRONICLE

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