Tuesday 26 September 2017

Harte tight-lipped over proposed McCann ban

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte remained tight-lipped last night when asked his thoughts on the proposed eight-week ban handed down to Tiernan McCann by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee
Tyrone boss Mickey Harte remained tight-lipped last night when asked his thoughts on the proposed eight-week ban handed down to Tiernan McCann by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee

Declan Bogue

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte remained tight-lipped last night when asked his thoughts on the proposed eight-week ban handed down to Tiernan McCann by the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee.

Referring to his interview on Monday with BBC Newsline, Harte told assembled media at Tyrone's Garvaghey complex, "I've said what I've had to say about it earlier this week and obviously the county board are contesting it so we'll leave it there, we'll see where that takes us."

As Tyrone gear up for an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry on August 23, there are uncanny similarities in this campaign to two seasons ago prior to meeting Mayo at the same juncture.

Back then, there was a tidal wave of criticism that followed deliberate drag-downs by Seán Cavanagh on Eamon Wallace in their win over Meath, and Conor McManus in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan.

In the corresponding game two seasons ago, Conor Gormley was retrospectively suspended for his involvement in a scuffle at half time which would have left him unavailable for the semi against Mayo, before he was cleared after a meeting with the Central Hearings Committee.

At the press conference before the Mayo game, Tyrone county board officials produced an infamous 'Facts' sheet detailing how they felt they had been aggrieved by certain decisions throughout the season.

The Tyrone collective clearly had decided that particular choice of action wasn't appropriate last night, with players Peter Harte and Ronan McNabb also being coy on the furore surrounding team-mate McCann.

Asked if he can sense the similarities to 2013, Harte replied, "I'll leave that for others to decide. Let people listen to what is going on and see what emphasis is placed on the football we played versus other things and let you all be the judge of that."

The Errigal Ciarán clubman replied to a question about the tone of coverage Tyrone were receiving by saying: "I always believe in life that you get more of what you look for. If you want to look for negativity, and hone in on that, then certainly you will get lots of it.

"But I would love to think that people would be more optimistic than that, more open-minded than that, and look for the good within."

Under Harte, Tyrone have never lost to Kerry in Croke Park, and he touched upon that, stating: "We have been fortunate in the noughties to have gotten the rub of the green when it mattered most. But since the 2008 victory, Kerry have certainly got the upper hand. And they are certainly in pole position at the minute."

Irish Independent

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