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Black card just isn't fit for purpose, blasts Harte

 

Ban threat: Peter Harte has incurred a number of black cards this season
Ban threat: Peter Harte has incurred a number of black cards this season
Mickey Harte
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

With Tyrone getting ready to face Kerry in this Sunday's All-Ireland football semi-final in Croke Park, Red Hands manager Mickey Harte is still angered by the disciplinary tightrope facing his playmaker Peter Harte.

Black-carded against Donegal, Longford and Cavan, the accumulation of three such offences would have carried a one-game suspension for their Round One game in the Super8s against Roscommon.

Tyrone appealed all three black cards, but only the one against Longford was rescinded.

That means Harte, the player, will miss a potential All-Ireland final should he pick up another black card in the last-four tie this weekend.

Boss Harte has long been a critic of the black card and said at the team's semi-final press event at Garvaghey yesterday: "Why was this brought in? It was brought in because of a rant over Sean Cavanagh, and that was a very clear and deliberate, intended pull down.

"Do any of the things Petey Harte did remotely resemble that? They could be considered clumsy, deliberate, ill-timed, but in the context of it, why would he want to do that after 10 minutes of the Donegal game?

"Commit a foul that he knew would get a black card and commit to trip somebody? Not a chance. And equally so in the Cavan game, even more ridiculous, we were leading by about 14 points, the game was over and there was no reason to do it.

"To lose a player for an entire game over one clumsy or ill-timed tackle, you could easily say if he meant to do that and nothing else, I think that's really difficult to determine. So something different needs to happen, it is ridiculous some of the things that are going on."

Beaten by six points against Dublin on Sunday in the final round of the Super8s, it was perhaps the most curious game of Championship football played this summer with 28 changes made between the two teams with nothing at stake.

Dublin may be going for five consecutive All-Ireland titles, but Harte holds out hope that this level of domination simply cannot continue unabated.

"Everything does change eventually and it only takes one break," he said.

"It's not to say that somebody would break Dublin's grip on the thing, that they would be gone, but at least it gives someone else a chance to enjoy the glory of the moment, and even if Dublin come back a year later, at least there would be a break in transmission, of ruling the roost.

"That's the hope that everybody has to have, that while Dublin have this strength in depth, everybody has to have the hope that things will change."

Asked if football, with dwindling attendances over the last few seasons, needs things to change from a Dublin hegemony, Harte rejected the connection.

"We can't bring those things together, the decline in attendances just because Dublin are so good. What about the fact that there is so much football on television now?" he suggested.

"There are lots of games that Dublin are not involved in and I think there are decent crowds going to matches.

"People forget that back in the day you might have seen highlights of an Ulster final if you were lucky, and before that you only saw televised games in the All-Ireland final and semi-finals.

"Back then, there weren't wonderful crowds going either. I saw All-Ireland semi-finals where there wasn't even 25,000 at it.

"You might ask, 'Is Dublin good for the game, or bad for the game?' I think you can paint a picture both ways.

"Their dominance puts everybody else in a hopeless situation, or it can ask people to raise their standards. If this is the standard you need to be at to get to the top, you better go after it."

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