Harte calls on Cavanagh not to retire after seeing red over his dismissal
Published 08/08/2016 | 02:30
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has urged Sean Cavanagh to take time to "reflect on what's there for him" as he weighs up his inter-county future.
Cavanagh may opt to bring a 15-year career to an end after winning an Ulster title last month but a red card in what may be his last match has angered Harte, particularly the first yellow he was given as the teams came back on the field after half-time.
Harte believes his captain was a victim of provocation and that it is time for referees to "tune in" to the instigators of such flashpoints and punish them.
"I know this for sure that Sean Cavanagh doesn't go looking for cards, he never did in his whole career.
"It was a shame that he'd be a victim of someone else enticing him into that. He doesn't go looking for anything and I can say that 100 per cent and I have no fear of contradiction," said Harte.
"It seems a shame that a man at this stage of his career who has given so much to our games should fall victim to that kind of stuff."
Cavanagh had appealed to one of the linesmen in the first half for greater awareness of what was going on in his duel with Mayo's Lee Keegan who was also yellow-carded after the break for that incident
"That's always the case," Harte said. "If a forward wants to go and attack and it ends up a wrestling match, it's not likely the forward is going to instigate that.
"Obviously in a game of that nature how tight it was and to lose a man like Sean. We just didn't lose any player, we lost our captain, we lost the most experienced player that we have and it put us under severe pressure. You can't win games of this nature without a man like that on the field.
"Officials make decisions but this thing that there's always two involved - there isn't. There is always someone starting it and they need to be more tuned in to who started this thing."
In response, Mayo manager Stephen Rochford strongly dismissed suggestions of deliberate targeting.
"I can categorically tell you that there was no Tyrone player targeted in the Mayo dressing room. Was Diarmuid O'Connor targeted in the first two or three minutes if anyone wants to go down that line? Certainly Lee Keegan or any Mayo player was not under instruction to target any player."