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Mickey Harte stays composed as Joe Brolly claims his time is up

 

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte last night refused to respond to explosive claims by controversial pundit Joe Brolly, who suggested "it is time to change now" when asked about Harte's future.

Brolly also claimed during RTÉ Radio's 'Jones Road' podcast that he had a private conversation with a Tyrone player who told him that training was "depressing".

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph for his response, Harte - whose Red Hands lost for the third consecutive game at the weekend, denying them a place in the Allianz League Division One final - said: "I wouldn't even comment on anything that man would say. I am more into fact than fiction."

This is not the first time Brolly has been vocal about Tyrone and their management, and he regularly uses his position as a leading columnist, as well as a pundit on several media platforms, to publicise his views.

Last Friday, during a broadcast from Crossmaglen Rangers' celebration of the 25th anniversary of their first All-Ireland title, he criticised Tyrone, and also produced a Sunday column re-iterating those thoughts before yesterday's podcast.

Asked if Harte - in the final year of his current arrangement - should leave after this year, Brolly responded: "I think it is time to change now.

"For roughly eight years now they have gone increasingly defensive. There is less and less to admire in their play. One of the most vigorous teams you could see in a county that was synonymous with good football, and it has permeated in all levels.

"Their under-age teams are all playing this game, this centralised coaching that is going on. Their Under-21s were beaten there again.

"It just becomes depressing. And that's what has happened with Tyrone football."

Brolly also made some incredible claims that he had been discussing details of Tyrone training with a current player. The 1993 All-Ireland winner stated: "I spoke to a couple of the Tyrone players privately a couple of weeks ago. One of their better players, one of their really, really good players, you should hear what he is saying in private about how depressing their training is and how they are playing.

"You can see that now, and I do believe it is too late to change to a more expansive style."

He went on to criticise Tyrone's forward play, adding: "What you see now is that psychology of fear taking hold and they don't really know how to win games any more. They don't have any attack method or structure."

And he also had words for his own county and former All-Ireland-winning team-mate and current Derry manager Damian Barton. He said: "Derry are paralysed with fear now. We are so poor, we are getting everybody back, everybody is pointing at each other and abdicates responsibility in the end."

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