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Tyrone move fast in bid to overturn Harte black cards


Been punished: Tyrone’s Peter Harte received his third black card of the Championship against Cavan
Been punished: Tyrone’s Peter Harte received his third black card of the Championship against Cavan
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone have requested a hearing from the GAA's central hearings committee after Peter Harte collected his third black card of the Championship.

This could rule him out of their next game - the Super8s' opening clash against Roscommon on Saturday in Dr Hyde Park.

Under the rules governing the use of the black card, a county cannot appeal individual cards until three have been accrued, which leads to an automatic one-game suspension.

Harte was awarded black cards in the Ulster semi-final against Donegal and in qualifier wins over Longford and Cavan.

The county board have been notified of the proposed punishment by the central competitions control committee and, while they have 48 hours to respond, they've moved quickly to get the Errigal Ciaran man free to face Anthony Cunningham's side.

Speaking after the win over Cavan, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte was perplexed by referee Barry Cassidy's decision.

He said: "I think I'm baffled, how anybody would think that Petey Harte would entertain the idea of taking a black card.

"We are so far ahead, the game is almost over, and why he would think of doing something to merit a black card. He just wouldn't do it.

"I said to Barry Cassidy, I congratulated him on how he handled the game because I do think he handled the game well, but I just couldn't see for the life of me how he could make that decision.

"But again, two referees before him, I believe, made similar wrong decisions and we will have to go ahead and appeal all three of them."

Black card decisions have been overturned in the past and it would see, on review of the three incidents in question, that Harte will be cleared. It happened in 2017 when Kildare's Kevin Feely and Down player Kevin McKernan were cleared to play their next game.

Meanwhile, it would appear unlikely that a repeat of last year's controversy, when the Healy Park pitch was narrowed in the week leading into the visit of Dublin for the Super8s game, will occur.

While it was reported that it was a requirement of Sky Sports to facilitate their cameras on the day, this claim was later rejected by the broadcasters. On the day, it had a significant effect on Dublin kickouts as Stephen Cluxton kicked four out over the sidelines.

Chairman of Omagh St Enda's club Conor Salley said: "This week the pitch is being sanded and verti-drained, which will remove the lines from it. It will have to be lined then this weekend for the Tyrone and Mayo ladies' Championship qualifier. So the lines will remain on it then."

Pitches for Gaelic games can be anywhere between 80 and 90 metres wide.

However, ongoing difficulties with the pitch at Healy Park, where the players exit the tunnel and there is heavy footfall, caused the club to take the pitch in earlier this year.

"Quite often, for example during the National League, which the media didn't notice, the pitch was actually in about a metre to a metre-and-a-half this year because of difficulties we had with the playing surface just in front of the tunnel," explained Salley.

"At the start of the year it had been narrower, from the start of the year the pitch would have been a metre or a metre-and-a-half in from the near side for health and safety reasons. We now have that re-turfed and moved back out again.

"I know last year for the Monaghan game, the BBC had requested that the pitch be taken in to facilitate the cameras on the far side.

"Sky had talked about it, about the requirements to possibly move the pitch in, but when it was looked at, it wasn't required."

Omagh St Enda's have already began preparations for the game on the weekend of August 3 or 4, as club officials are expecting a capacity crowd at one of the biggest games of their history.

"You have to absolutely take a look at everything.

"From health and safety, to catering, media, hospitality to pitches and make sure everything is in tip-top shape," added Salley.

Belfast Telegraph


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