All-Ireland SFC final: Tyrone want right balance against Dublin

Influential Tyrone player Peter Harte is likely to renew his personal duel with Dublin defender John Small
Influential Tyrone player Peter Harte is likely to renew his personal duel with Dublin defender John Small
All-Ireland SFC final: Dublin v Tyrone
Venue: Croke Park, Dublin Date: Sunday, 2 September Throw-in: 15:30 BST
Coverage: Live coverage on Radio Ulster MW; audio stream and live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Peter Harte says Tyrone won't abandon the principles that got them to a first All-Ireland SFC final in ten years.

In a bid to upset Dublin, who are going for a fourth title in a row, its been suggested Tyrone could open up and try to match Dublin's awesome firepower.

Dublin beat Tyrone by 12 points in last year's semi-final, and Harte says they will approach the decider with caution.

"If you haven't tried something and you go and try it, if it blows up in your face you look very silly," he said.

Although often labelled as an ultra defensive team, Mickey Harte's Tyrone side averaged 21.2 points in five championship games in 2017.

In nine games so far this year, they are averaging 22 points, which proves they are playing a style which is not only effective but suits the players at their disposal.

So the chances of the Red Hands ditching their running game and unleashing a curve ball against Jim Gavin's champions, seems remote.

"It is probably more about tweaking than going leftfield," says Peter Harte.

"We haven't changed the way we play, much, in the last three or four years. Everyone kind of knows that.

Tyrone playmaker Peter Harte describes himself as `a middle eight player`
Tyrone playmaker Peter Harte describes himself as `a middle eight player`

"So, I just can't see us throwing that out the window and going for something totally different.

"There's tweaks or things you have to do well and probably other things you need to try, but you don't abandon what you're good at and what's got us here."

One of the most flexible and versatile players in the team, playmaker Harte accepts Tyrone will have to up their conversion rate and hit a big total in order to live with a potent Dublin attack.

"You've seen Dublin in the last few All-Ireland finals, you probably need to hit that 20-point mark or somewhere near it to be in with a chance.

"That's probably the target for us. Sometimes people forget that we were scoring decently last year, but just not enough against Dublin.

"I like the attacking side of the game rather than defensive, so any chance you get to get forward you love to be there and be in supporting or try and assist and get scores."

Tyrone captain Mattie Donnelly (left) and Peter Harte will be two of manager Mickey Harte's key weapons in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC decider with champions Dublin
Tyrone captain Mattie Donnelly (left) and Peter Harte will be two of manager Mickey Harte's key weapons in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC decider with champions Dublin

Tyrone conceded an early goal to emerging Dublin star Con O'Callaghan last year and never got into the game.

This year Dublin have unearthed another couple of talented newcomers in Brian Howard and Eoin Murchin, while John Small will again be expected to pick up Harte having had the better of their recent meetings.

Harte also has faith Tyrone are better equipped to meet the Dublin challenge 12 months on from last year's one-sided affair.

"We like to get men back and break out fast and a lot's been made of our running game.

"The fact this year we probably have an extra one or two men up the field, and you've unearthed people like Richie (Donnelly) who didn't play a lot last year, Michael McKernan, Kieran McGeary, all those boys are coming in and doing really well.

"With the likes of (Padraig) Hampsey moving out to midfield as well, all those things probably bode a bit better for us than last year."