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Published: 14:19 | 26/8/18

Harte backs Tyrone to upset Dublin

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte believes the Red Hands can "upset the odds" against holders Dublin in next Sunday's All-Ireland SFC final.

Dublin will claim their fourth consecutive All-Ireland title with victory at Croke Park on Sunday, 2 September, but Harte says his Tyrone side are used to being the underdogs in All-Ireland finals.

Tyrone were second favourites in their last two finals against Kerry in 2005 and 2008, but won both matches by three points and four points respectively.

"I don't think we were favourites in '05 against Kerry or favourites in '08," he told the Sunday Independent.

"We were still the underdog, though maybe not by as wide a margin as perceived now. We're not in new territory - we are where we were in those years.

"The thing is that we aren't being given any hope this time. We would have been given a degree of hope in the previous years against Kerry, whereas we are not being given much chance this time at all in the eyes of many experts.

"But that should not deter us from believing that we can upset the odds, and we believe we can upset the odds.

"Otherwise this won't be a final that people will want to see."

Tyrone packed the defence in last year's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin but still slumped to a 12-point defeat, although they ran Jim Gavin's side a lot closer in the Allianz Leagues Division 1 game between the sides in Omagh on 3 February.

Tyrone led the Sky Blues by two points at the break, but were eventually beaten 2-13 to 1-11 after hitting 14 wides at Healy Park.

Harte believes Dublin are rightly lauded for their attacking prowess, but says Gavin has also established an impressive defensive unit during his six seasons in charge.

"I would say that while Dublin play a really serious brand of offensive football, they also play a very serious brand of defensive football and sometimes people don't give due consideration to that because they see so much of them going forward that they kind of overlook the fact that they're a serious outfit to break down at the back as well," he continued.

"They have been able to create that life view that they're all about attack but they are very much about defence as well and that's what makes them difficult. That's the big challenge which you have to really study and interpret — what they are doing very deeply."

Image: Inpho Photography/Declan Roughan

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