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Mickey Harte is just another victim of too much democracy in GAA

By Declan Bogue

Of all the surprising sporting stories in Tyrone that were reported last week, one carried the distinct stench of mean-spiritedness.

The one that was truly amazing was the Tyrone county board not approving another year in charge for Mickey Harte, which would take him to the end of the 2018 season.

For most sensible people, some GAA jargon can be dizzying and impenetrable. When they hear 'county board', they can confuse that with the 'County Executive'; chief office holders such as chairperson, treasurer and secretary.

While there was some conflict between Harte and members of Executive last year over (chiefly) his stance of non-cooperation with RTÉ, it's known that this has been ironed out and all parties are satisfied.

The surprise this year is that it was the Executive that proposed Harte's additional year. The county board - which is a description for all the clubs of the county who get a vote on such matters - turned it down by a single vote, 18-17.

This is the same county board that voted to give Harte another two seasons at the end of last year, on a count of 53-3.

So what has changed? Has Harte lost the support of the clubs that he enjoyed so much last winter?

And why do these things always leave such a sour taste, especially when it occurs to figures such as Harte, Sean Boylan and Pete McGrath?

Whatever the reasons, we are reminded of a famous line in - of all movies - 'Cocktail', when Tom Cruise's character Brian Flanagan says: "Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end". Quite.

Belfast Telegraph


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