Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Double delight for Damian at end of term as Tyrone PRO

TWO high-profile awards within the space of a week provided a fitting finale to Damian Harvey’s five-year term as Tyrone PRO.

The Cookstown clubman collected the prestigious Communications prize at the Ulster GAA Writers Association banquet and also lifted the PRO of the Year award at the Teamtalk honours presentation.

Now Harvey, who has made an outstanding contribution to Tyrone’s progress in recent years, is urging all those involved in communications roles with the GAA to be “more available, honest and transparent.”

As he steps aside from a position he has filled with considerable distinction, Harvey expresses the hope that more young people will become involved in helping to promote the aims and aspirations of their clubs and counties.

Harvey’s plea comes at a time when the communications, marketing and promotional activities within a number of counties leave a lot to be desired.

Indeed, it is not uncommon for PRO’s to ‘go to ground’ when important issues require addressing and then blame the media for what they feel is inaccurate coverage even though information has been at a premium.

“I have always subscribed to the belief that a PRO should never be afraid to make a comment in which he or she has total belief. Journalists are like the rest of us, they are trying to make a living. The best piece of advice I ever got was to always try and make myself available,” reveals Harvey.

“I fully recommend the role of county team PRO as it is hugely enjoyable. Of course there is pressure but considerable satisfaction can be derived from the work involved. For anyone interested in getting out a good message about their county’s activities, it can be a fantastic position to fill.”

In tandem with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, Harvey has been something of a trendsetter within the GAA in terms of openness and frank speaking.

Harte, never one to indulge in mind games or release the kind of ‘false’ line-ups beloved of some other managers, unfailingly makes information pertaining to Tyrone fully available.

“Obviously I have worked closely with Mickey and I like to think that we helped to show Tyrone in a good light as often as possible.”

Harvey plans to take a year’s break from the administrative sphere of the GAA and his successor Eunan Lindsay makes his debut at the Dr McKenna Cup launch in Armagh on Tuesday night. “Damian will be a hard act to follow but I’ll do my best,” smiles Lindsay.

l CROSSMAGLEN Rangers forward Stephen Kernan expects to be fully fit for his team’s All-Ireland club football semi-final against Connacht champions St Brigid’s (Roscommon) in February.

Kernan, who skippered the team to All-Ireland club glory in March, was forced to limp out of the Ulster final earlier this month with an ankle injury.

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