Friday 20 July 2018

'There was no great success during that period' - Mickey Harte on how The Troubles impacted Ulster football

18 August 2017; Tyrone manager Mickey Harte during a Tyrone Football Press Conference at Tyrone Centre of Excellence, in Garvaghy, Co. Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
18 August 2017; Tyrone manager Mickey Harte during a Tyrone Football Press Conference at Tyrone Centre of Excellence, in Garvaghy, Co. Tyrone. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

People in the Republic of Ireland 'didn't fully appreciate' the struggles that GAA members in Northern Ireland went through during The Troubles, according to Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.

The three-time All-Ireland-winning manager was profiled in the latest episode of the TG4 GAA documentary series, Laochra Gael, where he looked back on his career, the tragedy he has suffered as well as the tumultuous period of violence in Northern Ireland.

Reflecting on what it was like to be affiliated with the GAA during the height of The Troubles, Harte explained why he thinks no Ulster team won an All-Ireland during that period.

"When you're living through that, living through a conflict of that nature, you don't have your full mindset to be able to afford to devote your life to an activity, which is a hobby, because there's too many other things to think about," Harte said.

"There's family to think about, there's the danger element. There's just not knowing what's going to happen next."

"From Down in 1968 until Down again in 1991, no Ulster team won the All-Ireland," Harte added.

"It's more than a coincidence that there was no great success during that period of time which very much coincided with the Troubles at their worst.

"I don't think that the people in the 'deep south', if we'll call it that, fully appreciated and didn't fully understand what exactly people in a GAA background had to endure, in many ways to keep the games alive up here. That people were killed over their connection with the GAA and that was the most tragic thing of all."

Harte is one of the select few managers to have led teams to All-Ireland titles at minor, U21 and senior, and is currently on the sideline with Tyrone senior side for a 16th season.

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