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‘Ten points won’t win too many games in Croke Park’ – Derry manager Mickey Harte

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They trailed by just one point on the 59-minute mark after Brendan Rogers boomed over his second point of the day. However, Kerry kicked five of the last six points of the day to book a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

Derry were playing in their third game in three weekends having beaten Westmeath in Newry and picking their way through extra time and penalties to see off Mayo.

However, Harte wasn’t offering any excuses.

“Look when you lose in these situations it is easy to make those things a narrative that fits well,” he said.

“I can’t say for certain because I felt we were okay. Look, people pick up their injuries or niggles and the rest of it. They try to get over it.

“Kerry pulled away so you could suggest that. I’m not sure. I think if we had been clinical as I say with our possession then the gap wouldn’t have widened.

“It could have been a nip-and-tuck game until the end. If we kept it a point game or no more than that, we’d have felt pretty good going into the last few minutes.

“Once it started to open out, three points against a team like Kerry, the way the modern game is played, people can keep ball and you have to go after it. If you go after it, it takes a lot of energy to go after it.

“You are more prone to leaving yourself open at the back. If you allow yourself to be in a place where you need scores in a short space of time at the end of a game now, you are going to have a lot of trouble a lot of the time.”

Derry have put down a rollercoaster season. A statement win over Dublin in the league final was followed by three morale sapping defeats at the hands of Donegal, Galway and Armagh that sent the county into a tailspin.

At one point, rumours spread that Harte had left the job. His future was not addressed though Harte admitted disappointment at how the season had unfolded.

“I suppose the nature of the defeats was the big thing, it wasn’t just that we were beaten, we were beaten badly by Donegal and Armagh and we had a crazy battle with Galway in terms of losing a man and all of that,” he said.

“Though I wouldn’t see it as such a bad outcome when we see where Galway are now, so we were up against a pretty useful side that day.

“So yeah, it is disappointing but look it, that’s life at this level. You give it your best shot. When you believe you have the people of the quality required to go to the top you like to be getting as close to that top as possible.

“We didn’t get close enough this year so it’s very disappointing all being told.”

And he admitted that Derry’s tally of ten points simply wasn’t enough.

“It was a challenge to get back to the level that we had in the national league. We took a few games in the last few weeks to get a bit of confidence back again. I thought that confidence was very much back after the result against Mayo,” said Harte.

“Look we were meeting an established team who are no strangers to All-Ireland quarter-finals, semi-finals and winning them.

“We had a tough battle out there today and I felt that we did well up to the 60 minute or so keeping in touch.

“When you consider we held David Clifford and Sean O’Shea to a meagre return for their standard you would have thought we had a reasonable chance.

“I suppose we weren’t efficient enough, clinical enough ourselves. It is not hard to guess ten points won’t win too many games in Croke Park.”

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