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Biting back: Tyrone boss Mickey Harte feels demands on players are realistic

Biting back: Tyrone boss Mickey Harte feels demands on players are realistic

Biting back: Tyrone boss Mickey Harte feels demands on players are realistic

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has fired out a robust response to those who believe that excessive demands are currently being made on inter-county players.

It is thought that upwards of 70 relatively high-profile players have walked away from squads while the season is still in its infancy, with predictions being made that more might follow.

But Harte maintains that his current crop of Tyrone players "are happy" with what they are being asked to do and suggests that this could be the case in other counties.

Connor McAliskey distanced himself from the Red Hands panel towards the end of last year and, although several players are out of action at the moment because of injury, Harte insists that players who come into county squads make a "lifestyle choice".

"I think that the players who are in county squads now are there because they want to challenge themselves to be the best they can be and, in the process, further their careers and perhaps bring their counties success," states Harte.

"These are young men who find that they can balance other elements of their lives with being members of a county squad, and this being the case, then that could not be said to be making excessive demands on them," he adds.

"They are at a stage in their lives when they have the opportunity to enhance their sporting careers, and obviously we afford them every facility we can in doing this.

"I am aware that players have been leaving squads but it is not always because they feel that excessive demands are being made on them."

The ramifications of players leaving squads can potentially prove serious.

Right now, Cavan manager Mickey Graham is striving to replace six players, while Wexford boss Paul Galvin, the former Kerry All-Ireland winner, was rocked earlier this week.

Galvin axed two experienced players from his squad, only for two others to leave 'in sympathy' with them.

And this week Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson, whose side face the difficult task of trying to achieve promotion from Division Four in the Allianz League, lamented the fact that opt-outs continue to prove a major handicap.

Harte points out: "Obviously it is becoming increasingly difficult for some managers to hold squads together, but if players really want to wear their county jersey and prove themselves in what is a high-intensity sector then this will help them build their careers."

A number of players are currently leaving squads because they are unhappy with the amount of game time they are getting or are dissatisfied with their manager's playing strategy.

Belfast Telegraph