Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Tyrone boss Harte pours cold water on latest bottle rule

There's a theory that the worse Mickey Harte's team performs, the more he complains about sundry GAA rules and regulations as a deliberate distraction ploy.

In fairness, that wasn't the case yesterday when the Tyrone boss had a lash at the GAA's water-bottle policy.



He had already assessed his team, saying: "We probably should have been further ahead; we created more scoring chances than we took so our lead was always catchable and when they cracked a goal the whole landscape changed. We answered them to a degree but still have plenty of work to do."



Harte actually praised referee Pat McEnaney who just blew twice in the whole game for illegal handpasses (both Tyrone's).



But then someone asked him about the water-bottle rule - water carriers are no longer allowed on the pitch and players must come to the sideline to get them - and he was off.



"I don't understand what the point of it is!" he raged.



"We are talking about player welfare here. It has been a big topic and a very simple way of looking after players is to give them proper hydration."



Lobbing bottles into players is also no longer allowed but clearly ignored yesterday, which will attract fines.



"I don't want this ridiculous rule clarified," Harte said. "I want it changed to an acceptable level that people can live with. It doesn't work, there has to be a happy medium here."



Antrim boss Liam Bradley was upset too; not about H2O but at the ref.



"The second goal (Mulligan's) was crucial. People have to realise that was a free to Antrim," he insisted.



"Colin Brady was fouled and there were 20,000-plus people here today and every one of them except the referee saw that as a free.



"Anybody that doesn't think it was a free doesn't know the rules of the game. The whole game hinged on that one mistake," Bradley fumed.

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