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Bosses urged to learn from Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

By John Campbell

Ulster managers have been asked to take a leaf out of Mickey Harte’s book for the forthcoming provincial senior football championship.

Throughout the course of the Allianz Football League, Harte unfailingly put his line-up for each round into the public domain on the Thursday prior to the match.

Not for the Tyrone boss the unnecessary mind games in which some managers indulge or any tendency to disguise his intentions by naming a ‘false’ line-up.

Just like most other managers, Harte had injury worries with which to contend over the course of the competition but did not allow this to deflect him from adhering to his selection policy.

Joe McMahon, Conor Gormley, Justin McMahon, Colm Cavanagh, Martin Penrose, Stephen O’Neill, Michael Murphy and Owen Mulligan are just some of the players who were unavailable to Harte from time to time yet his side managed to gain promotion and earn their place in the Division Two final against Kildare on Sunday week.

Harte also had to ship the heavy blow of discovering that the exciting Ronan O’Neill is ruled out for the year because of a cruciate ligament injury

Now Ulster Council officials are backing Director General Paraic Duffy’s call to team managers to make their championship teams known as much in advance of matches as possible in order to stimulate public debate, speculation and interest in the ties.

“I think that given the current recession and the fact that it will cost people hard-earned money to attend games, the least we can do is try and make the matches as appealing as we can by providing fans with as much information as possible. This all helps to add to the colour and excitement of the championship season,” maintains Duffy.

His sentiments are fully endorsed by the Ulster Council’s Head of Public Affairs Ryan Feeney.

“Everyone wants to know who will be playing in the matches. Even when they buy a programme at a match venue there is no guarantee that the team they read will be the same as that which plays and that is not always helpful,” says Feeney.

“We are all aware that managers must, of necessity, have a tactical plan which can involve certain players being given key roles but I think we must also take into consideration the paying public.

“After all, they forsake the opportunity to watch the game from the comfort of their armchairs so they should be treated with as much respect as possible.

It is important to bear in mind too that by actually attending games followers are paying admission money which is subsequently channelled back into clubs to assist with development plans.”

It’s hardly surprising that Tyrone will be the first team to set out their stall for the Ulster championship when Mickey Harte addresses a meeting of Club Tyrone at the Fir Trees Hotel, Strabane next Wednesday.

Club Tyrone chairman Hugh McAleer reveals: “Mickey will give an insight to the team’s preparations both for the Division Two league final and the Ulster championship.

“We hope for a big attendance as obviously we are keen to get more funding for the Garvaghey Centre of Excellence.”

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