Donegal and Tyrone showed serious character and played out what was an intriguing and fascinating contest.
That was how winning manager Mickey Harte summed up yesterday’s Ulster final and Tyrone’s late burst to claim back the Anglo Celt Cup.
He even admitted that the outcome boiled down to Tyrone getting the rub of the green to snatch it at the death.
“We would still be a team of character if we had lost that game,” he said.
“I don’t want to hang everything on the outcome of the game.”
The Tyrone boss was speaking after guiding the Red Hands to their sixth Ulster senior crown under his watch.
“Donegal put in a wonderful performance there today too,” he said.
“They showed a lot of character out there today.
“Just because we got the tip of the green for the score at the end of it does not make us far superior to anybody else.
“That was two teams that were well organised, who had respect for each other - on occasion too much respect for each other.
“We battled out an intriguing and really interesting match. Sometimes games don’t have to be 2-22 to 2-14 or 2-16 to be entertaining.
“I think that was a highly entertaining game. It was intriguing, it tells us a lot about the fluidity of our game and where it can go and where it can be good.
“That type of game takes diligent and disciplined tacking but it is a damage-limitation exercise.
“A team will get through you sometimes but if you can hold the opposition out to ten or 11 points you have a great opportunity of winning the game. And that is what we did today.”
The Tyrone boss also acknowledged the contribution of his subs bench and the young players that he used in the second half.
“We have known for sometime that we have people eager to get into this team. There is a fight to get into the 26 and obviously then there is a fight to get into the first 15,” he said.
“You need people on the bench who want to come and contribute and are not just hoping to get a wee bit of a game.
“They want on. They have worked as hard as everybody else and they want a piece of the action. And when they get a piece of the action they want to grab it.”
While others may talk up Tyrone as possible All-Ireland contenders, Mickey Harte was having none of it when the prospect was put to him.
“People, pundits and bookies, can all say all they want. We know we are in the quarter final, the last eight in the All-Ireland series.
“That is a knockout competition. It is now a matter of knuckling down and looking at who we are going to meet and how we are going to beat them.
“If we win that we are in a semi-final but we cannot look beyond that game. That is where we are at . We want to be in the All-Ireland semi-final and that is as far as we see at the minute.”
Harte had guided Tyrone to five senior Ulster titles before yesterday’s final win over Donegal.
And of the them all, he said yesterday’s was the best.
“It is best of all of them because of the famine that was there for six years, and because of what had gone before.
“Maybe Ulster titles were taken for granted in the 2000s and not enough joy was put into winning them.
“This is different, I think the whole county was waiting on this.
“The fact that it was Donegal in the final made an issue of it as well.”