Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Provincial champions’ plea being taken to Harte

By John Campbell

Published 29/12/2010

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte’s ongoing plea for provincial football champions to be given a second bite at the All Ireland cherry via the qualifiers, has gained huge support following an analysis of this year’s overall championship results.

While the provincial and All Ireland series provided some stunning encounters one stark statistic is currently providing considerable food for thought for GAA chiefs . . . not one of the eight teams who competed in the four provincial deciders made it past the All Ireland quarter-finals stage.

Indeed, Sligo, Limerick, Monaghan and Louth all bowed out of the qualifiers six days after losing their provincial deciders, thus lending weight to the belief that such teams should be afforded a 13-day respite before going into championship action again.

But it’s the fact that all four provincial champions Roscommon (Connacht), Kerry (Munster), Tyrone (Ulster) and Meath (Leinster) all lost in their respective All Ireland quarter-finals — their next outing after their provincial triumphs — and immediately exited the championship that is a sticking point with Harte and many of his managerial colleagues.

Earlier this year, the Croke Park authorities indicated that to afford the provincial champions the safety net of the All Ireland qualifiers would further congest the fixture list.

But this notion has already been firmly rubbished by many managers and players who quite rightly point out that there is adequate time in August to accommodate such fixtures.

Harte, for one, makes no bones about his ongoing desire to see what he feels as a burning issue addressed.

“I think that the provincial champions are, in a sense, being discriminated against.

“Everyone else gets another crack at the championship but they go out.

“To some extent this takes the taste of winning a provincial title.”

“I honestly think that the sooner provision is made for the provincial champions to be given a second chance the fairer it will all be,” says Harte.

From the web

Sponsored Videos

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph