Derry’s Mickey Harte undaunted by ‘empty vessels’ making noise as if it was the ‘gospel truth’

Even in his long and storied career in football, Mickey Harte admitted last week was a first for him.

The rumour mill, fuelled by Derry’s dramatic loss of form, pumped out the stories of internal strife and training camp fall outs. And then last week, it decreed that Harte had stepped down from his role, effectively sent back across the border to Tyrone.

Not the case of course. Harte was on the line on Saturday night as his side limped past Westmeath. And speaking to reporters after, he agreed he’d never seen a week quite like the one he’d just put down.

“No, but sure it’s to do with the times we’re living in,” Harte said. “There’s so many people that can have a voice and bring it out as if it was the gospel truth. You know what they say about empty vessels, they make the most noise, and that’s probably part of it.”

Harte admitted his disappointment that the players had been caught up in the criticism.

“I don’t like that it has happened to the players, they don’t deserve it. They’re better than that. They’ve worked their socks off the whole year and played some wonderful football, and I don’t like that that’s happening to them.

“For my part, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think it’s a nice thing to be at but it doesn’t bother me, and those who are directing at me, I just tell them they shouldn’t get any joy out of it because I’m not worried about it.”

And he insisted they won’t be using the criticism as motivation ahead of next weekend's preliminary quarter-final.

“It all depends what you want to be your motivation. I don’t really believe in negative motivation. The biggest motivation we had here was for the true supporters of Derry who come out through thick and thin, who enjoy watching their team and they’ll take the hits of losses with the victories, and there’s plenty of them for that.

“That’s who they were playing for, that’s who motivates them to do what they did there tonight.

Derry put their name in the hat thanks to an unconvincing 2-7 to 0-9 win over the Lake men. Emmet Bradley’s late goal finally saw off Westmeath just when it looked like they might gather a head of steam. What happens down the line remains to be seen, but for the moment at least, Mickey Harte's Derry remain in the championship.

“It’s a great result for us. We couldn’t think of anything else other than getting a result. We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, and that’s the fact of the matter.

“We were very impressed with them (Westmeath) against Galway especially, so they were a team on a mission as well and they were playing good football. We knew that, coming off the results we had, morale was dented, and it was difficult for the players to get back the belief they had that took them to the top of Division One.

“That is the beginning of the process of building back a bit of confidence and a bit of belief that they can play very good football, but it doesn’t solve all our problems. We still have top be aware of what caused us damage in the games that we lost, and try and continue to work so they don’t happen again, certainly in such a prolific fashion.”

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