Sunday 20 October 2019

'I'm not talking about it anymore' - Mickey Harte kicks to touch in 'Sky Omagh' pitch ​battle


Tyrone's Mickey Harte. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Tyrone's Mickey Harte. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A defiant Mickey Harte has refused to clarify his post-match comments after Sky Sports insisted they had not requested that the Omagh pitch be reduced in size to accommodate additional equipment required to televise Tyrone's recent All-Ireland 'Super 8s' clash with Dublin.

Harte claimed in the aftermath of the match - which Dublin won by a goal - that the decision to narrow the pitch had been to facilitate a request from the broadcaster.

But Sky subsequently publicly denied that such a request was - or ever would be - made.

The Tyrone manager yesterday refused to elaborate on his initial claim or Sky's subsequent rebuttal, stating it's "over and done with".

"I think that was well spoken about in the days and week after the match and I don't think we need to talk about it again.

"That's finished - I'm not talking about it any more," said Harte at a media briefing in Garvaghey yesterday, ahead of Tyrone's much-anticipated final game in the Super 8s against Donegal in Ballybofey on Sunday.

Flynn: Suspended for Kerry game. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Flynn: Suspended for Kerry game. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Harte re-iterated his call for the rules of the game to be left untouched in the off-season.

And he launched a defence of Gaelic football in the wake of two absorbing All-Ireland hurling semi-finals, claiming the analysis of both games is coloured very differently.

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"I think we need to leave the rules alone for a while and forget about changing them," he said.

"If somebody is playing the ball up there and you want to get it back, you have to go and get it. Otherwise, you are just going to get beaten, so just go for it.

"Why do we need a rule change? We need teams to do something different so that doesn't happen."

Harte feels that the analysis of Gaelic football has fuelled negativity.

"It depends how you paint what is attractive. If the people who are reporting on these things or analysing them are always on about the problems, then what's going to happen?

"People are going to believe this game is bad, this game is a problem and this game isn't pretty.

"Why not ask them to look at what's going on in the game?"

Harte added: "So much goes on in games that are worth analysing and worth looking at. Who says what's good to the eye and what's not?"

"The prime example is if Dublin go out and batter somebody and it's only half-time, is that good to watch? If they are leading by 1-15 to 0-5 at half-time, would you sleep through the second half if you were watching it on TV for a start? It's absolutely boring, it's a non-event and the game is over.

"If I see a game then and it's 0-10 to 0-9 and there are 65 minutes gone, I'd rather be at that one because, number one, I don't know who is going to win this game until it's over."

Elsewhere, Daniel Flynn has failed in his bid to have the red card he received in last week's All-Ireland quarter-final series against Galway overturned.

Flynn opted not to accept a proposed one-match ban as a result of the red card but the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) ruled that the initial decision was correct.

Flynn has the option of taking his case to a Central Appeals Committee (CAC) but with Kildare out of the championship after two defeats the urgency has been lessened, even for their trip to Kerry on Saturday evening for a final-round game.

Fergal Horgan has been appointed to referee the Clare/Galway All-Ireland semi-final replay in Thurles, while Joe McQuillan (Donegal/Tyrone), Conor Lane (Galway/Monaghan), Derek O'Mahony (Kerry/Kildare) and Cormac Reilly (Dublin/Roscommon) will take charge of the last round of the Super 8s games this weekend.

Fermanagh's Niall Cullen will referee the inaugural EirGrid All-Ireland U-20 football final between Mayo and Kildare.

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