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Harte expects suspended pair to play in semi

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte feels that both Conor Gormley and Martin Penrose will be exonerated of their one-match suspensions ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, when they meet with the Central Hearings Committee.

There, they will be able to explain exactly what went on at half-time of their quarter-final clash against Monaghan, when Penrose received a straight red card and Gormley was punished on retrospective evidence.

"We'd be disappointed that somebody has had a sanction proposed, but at the same time we know that the option of a hearing is there," said Harte.

"We believe that when Conor and Martin Penrose go along, that they will put their side of the story of what happened from their perspective. Then we feel that the people making the judgement will make the right judgement."

It's believed that part of the evidence may lie in a fuller explanation of what occurred in the half-time scuffle between Gormley, Penrose and Monaghan's Dessie Mone.

"Indiscipline usually doesn't happen just on one side. There are a few parties involved in indiscipline and it's good to examine who exactly created this indiscipline and who were the worst perpetrators of it. There are lots of things to be observed there and I would be disappointed if players' indiscipline cost our team," Harte commented.

When asked if he was disappointed in Penrose's rush of blood to the head he answered: "You don't know what was said to him, what was done during the course of the game, you don't know. You have to give the benefit of the doubt to the player involved that something agitated him to do what he did because he would say that was not something you would do in normal time."

Interestingly, some Tyrone county board figures handed out photocopied sheets to the media present, with some telling statistics.

On a sheet entitled, 'Never Let The Facts Get In The Way of a Good Story...', it noted that Tyrone have been fouled 280 times in league (156) and Championship (124) football this year. That was compared to Tyrone committing 256 fouls in league (144) and Championship (112) this season.

Any fears of the GAA establishment and the broadcaster RTE pursuing some kind of an agenda against Tyrone was dealt with by Harte when he answered the query: "I couldn't make a judgement on that. Others can speculate and say what they think.

"I believe in the integrity of the Association that we belong to and the people who run it and we believe that everything is done fairly and above ground."

On his own feelings towards Joe Brolly's comments on Sean Cavanagh, he added: "It's regrettable that there's such a negative focus on such an honest, wholehearted and honest sportsman as Sean Cavanagh.

"He admitted himself that the pull-down was cynical. Cynical has become a much more nasty word for pulls than it used to be."

Harte also added that he hasn't had the opportunity to speak to Brolly in the wake of the comments, and while he feels, "I don't think it will change his opinion," he is not against him analysing Tyrone games in the future.

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