Wednesday 24 October 2018

Owen Mulligan offers interesting theory behind Healy Park's narrow pitch - and it has nothing to do with Dublin

10 March 2018: A general view of Healy Park before the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 5 match between Tyrone and Donegal at Healy Park in Omagh, Co Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: A general view of Healy Park before the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 5 match between Tyrone and Donegal at Healy Park in Omagh, Co Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan says there are 'whispers' in the county that the reason behind the narrowing of the Healy Park pitch for the clash with Dublin was with a view to preparing for their Super 8s finale against Donegal.

The dimensions were narrowed in Omagh two weeks ago for the visit of the All-Ireland champions, with Jim Gavin's men coming out on top despite the pitch size.

There have been conflicting explanations for who ordered the pitch to be narrowed, with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte initially claiming it was a Sky decision for broadcasting reasons while the broadcaster have said they had nothing to do with it.

Speaking to the media ahead of their decisive Super 8s clash away to Donegal, Harte refused to answer any questions on the matter.

"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," he said.

"That's finished - I'm not talking about it any more."

The winner of Sunday's game in Ballybofey will progress to the All-Ireland semi-final, and one of Harte's former players claims that this weekend's match could be the reason behind the narrowing of the Healy Park pitch, not the visit of Dublin.

Paddy Power GAA Ambassador Owen Mulligan told Paddy Power News that there are 'whispers' in Tyrone that the team wanted to mirror the MacCumhaill Park dimensions ahead of the crucial clash.

"The whispers doing the rounds in the county are that Omagh’s pitch wasn’t narrowed for the Dubs, but to reflect the size of Ballybofey’s pitch," Mulligan claimed.

"That will tell you how big this game is. It’s going to be a tight one. Ballybofey isn’t an easy place to go, it’ll be hostile.

"They’re the Ulster Champions at the end of the day. Tyrone are yet to beat a Division 1 team in the championship and that’s a big worry for me. We’ve been beaten by Monaghan, we’ve been beaten by Dublin and now we have a must win game against Donegal."

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