Friday 20 April 2018

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte refuses to be drawn on Tiernan McCann's eight-week ban

Marty Duffy shows the black card to Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann during Saturday’s victory over Monaghan
Marty Duffy shows the black card to Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann during Saturday’s victory over Monaghan

Declan Bogue

TYRONE boss Mickey Harte remained tight-lipped tonight when asked his thoughts on the eight-week ban handed down to Tiernan McCann by the Central Competition Controls 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."

McCann went down as if struck by Darren Hughes in the infamous 'Rufflegate' affair, and Tyrone are now challenging the charge of 'discrediting the association.'

Asked if he feels that this season has parallels with 2013 and the negative coverage that has followed Tyrone this season, 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."

Speaking on Monday, Harte defended the young wing-forward and insisted that Hughes' was not blameless in the whole affair.

"You'd have to ask other people about that because they are the ones that are throwing the abuse at us but I have to say on behalf of Tiernan McCann... if he had the chance again he would have responded differently to what happened to him and we all accept that," he told BBC Northern Ireland.

"I don't think he's the first person to overreact and he won't be the last one to ever do it and I think there is plenty of precedence there where this has happened before and it hasn't caused the same furore.

"Tiernan McCann is a fine young man, a wonder footballer, he did lots of good things on Saturday in the game that seem to have been overlooked.

"I just want to say that he wasn't entirely to blame for all of this.

"If the player who raised his hand had chosen to do something differently then the outcome would have been different as well.

"That's life, people make mistakes from time to time.

"I don't think there is anyone in this world that hasn't made a mistake now and again."

In his defence of McCann, Harte referenced an incident where Paul Finlay appeared to punch Sean Cavanagh in the back of the head when the ball was gone.

"Is that a worse thing to do than punch somebody in the back of the head? Somebody else will have to give me the answer," he added.

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