Mickey Harte defends Cathal McCarron from critics on the 'moral high ground' and slams new 'mark' rule
Tyrone began their 2017 campaign today with a rare defeat in the McKenna Cup at Breffni Park.
Mickey Harte's men are aiming for a sixth title in a row in the competition but were beaten 1-13 to 0-12 as former Tyrone star Mattie McGleenan began his tenure as Cavan boss with a win.
After the game, Harte dealt with a number of subjects when talking to the media including the fallout from Cathal McCarron's autobiography.
Details from 'Out Of Control' included being paid £3,000 in cash to appear in online gay pornography, concocting a fake cancer charity skydive to swindle his neighbours and being questioned by gardaí after arranging to meet a a female on Tinder who turned out to be a 15-year-old in Kildare.
McCarron was criticised from many quarters since the book's publication but Harte defended his corner-back and said that the book had not had a negative impact.
Speaking to off The Ball on Newstalk, he said: "I think people are entitled to be what they will. I think it's not a negative book at all, in fact, if people read the book they'll find it's a very positive story of a man trying to redeem himself from something that he really didn't want to be in but he found himself there and I think there are a lot of positives in that book.
"If a person decides that that's the right thing to do, who am I to challenge that?
"There are a lot of people on the high moral ground and there must be a wild crowd of them there, they'd want to be careful they don't fall off."
Spectators across the country were paying attention to the new 'mark' rule and how it would be implemented and Harte was not impressed.
"I'm not a good person to be talking about it because I never thought it should be brought in. I didn't think our game was crying out for it last year," he added.
"I don't think anyone was waiting for this great, novel way of improving our game.
"I always suggested that the referees have a lot to deal with and maybe some times too much to deal with and here's an added dimension to the degree of difficulty they have to deal with.
"And as you could see, even though they have been thinking about it, they have been talking about it, they have been watching videos about it... it's still a bit confusing because there is a lot of variables in it.
"It's not just simply there a mark, it's a mark or it's not a mark. I saw it there today where there was a mark called and he fist-passed the ball on and that seemed to be illegal. There is a very fine line between did you stop and did you not.
"I saw another one where a player caught the ball and dropped it on the way down but still got the mark.
"I don't see the value in it but we have to live with it and referees have to deal with it. It just adds difficulty to his job."
Back in September, the Tyrone county board turned down a request for an extra year to his term in charge which is due to expire this year.
Harte said he was 'disappointed' by the decision but it would not impact his focus on the year ahead.
"No, it disappointed me that's all. I'm not in charge of determining those outcomes, I can only suggest what I think should happen.
"I'll work here while I can and we'll see what happens."
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