Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA Tyrone

Tiernan McCann dive: Tyrone boss Mickey Harte keeps his counsel on eight-week ban

By Declan Bogue

Mickey Harte remained tight-lipped last night when asked his thoughts on the proposed eight-week ban handed down to Tiernan McCann by the GAA's Central Competition Controls Committee.

Referring to his interview on Monday with BBC Newsline, the Tyrone boss told the assembled media at the county's Garvaghey complex: "I've said what I've had to say about it earlier this week and obviously the county board are contesting it so we'll leave it there, we'll see where that takes us."

McCann went down as if struck by Darren Hughes in the infamous 'Rufflegate' affair, and Tyrone are now challenging the charge of 'discrediting the association'.

Under further questioning as to his surprise in hearing McCann's punishment, Harte said: "I've said all I'm going to say about this and I think that I have said that. If you want to know what I've thought of it, look back on yesterday's reports.

"I wouldn't use surprised in this case, I'd use a different word which is not as pleasant as surprise."

There are uncanny similarities in this season, as Tyrone gear up for an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry on August 23, and two seasons ago prior to meeting Mayo at the same stage.

Back then, there was a tidal wave of criticism that followed deliberate drag-downs by Sean Cavanagh on Eamon Wallace in their won over Meath, and Conor McManus in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan.

In the corresponding game two seasons ago, Conor Gormley was retrospectively suspended for his involvement in a scuffle at half time - which would have left him unavailable for the semi against Mayo, before he was cleared after a meeting with the Central Hearings Committee.

At the press conference before the Mayo game, Tyrone county board officials produced an infamous 'facts' sheet detailing how they felt they had been aggrieved by certain decisions throughout the season.

The Tyrone collective clearly had decided that particular choice of action wasn't appropriate last night, with players Peter Harte and Ronan McNabb also being coy on the furore surrounding team mate McCann.

Asked if he can sense the similarities to 2013, Harte said: "I'll leave that for others to decide. Let people listen to what is going on and see what emphasis is placed on the football we played versus other things and let you all be the judge of that."

The Errigal Ciaran clubman, replying to a question about the tone of coverage Tyrone were receiving, said: "I always believe in life that you get more of what you look for. If you want to look for negativity, and hone in on that, then certainly you will get lots of it.

"But I would love to think that people would be more optimistic than that, more open-minded than that and look for the good within.

"It's typical of our game, indeed in general, where you have lots of nit-picking going on and fault-finders and they think that's their brief in life.

"They don't understand that there's lots of good in our game at the minute.

"Of course there'll be faults, of course there'll be things that aren't as they ought to be. That's life - as they say, nobody's perfect."

The mood turned more positive when the prospect of an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry was brought up.

"It's always good to play Kerry. They are the best. They have the best record of any team since the GAA was founded," enthused Harte.

"They didn't get that by accident. They are the challenge. They are the team that everybody raises their game for. That's what they have to live with always."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph