Tyrone's Mickey Harte wary of 'utter contempt' shown by Sunday Game panelists

“Their opinion is quite often way off beam itself,” said Harte. “Nobody pulls them to task.”

Mickey Harte and Tyrone were beaten by Donegal last weekend.
Mickey Harte and Tyrone were beaten by Donegal last weekend.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard

TYRONE BOSS MICKEY HARTE is confident that his side can regain some form in the All Ireland football qualifiers but hopes the Sunday Game panelists can be less scathing if they fall short.

Following last weekend’s loss to Donegal, Harte’s side are looking ‘to start a new trend’ and emerge from the qualifiers as genuine contenders for the Sam Maguire. He admits his team are about to enter a minefield but declares ‘there’s no other show in town’.

One show that has caught Harte’s attention has been RTÉ’s Sunday Game, which covered last week’s game and featured panelists Joe Brolly and Colm O’Rourke as they dismissed the Red Hand County’s All-Ireland credentials. The manager, himself, escaped criticism but he says he is willing to take his fair share as long as it is justified.

He said, “What the people who are speaking about others should do is bear in mind are they being respectful? Are they being respectful? Then they can say what they think, say what they so but do it with respect. Then people will take it on board.

But if they do it with this sort of utter contempt almost for the thoughts and feelings of others then it’s not acceptable. After all, it is only an opinion that they have and they happen to be in a position to share it with a lot of people. Their opinion is quite often way off beam itself. Nobody pulls them to task.

“I’ve heard these people given wonderful predictions about what’s going to happen and the opposite happened, even by half-time, and they just turn their story around and went with what they saw. The acuity of 20-20 vision that exists with hindsight, we could all do with that.”

Harte has preached caution to the likes of Joe Brolly (pictured) and Pat Spillane. (Credit: RTÉ)

Harte added, “These people need to be careful about the language they use and the sentiment they express towards others. And be constructive in their criticism, by all means, but be respectful at all times. Then I don’t think anybody will say anything about them.”

Standing by Morgan

Harte, who was at Croke Park on Friday at the Eircom-sponsored launch of the All Ireland SFC Programme on Friday, came to the defence of free-taking goalkeeper Niall Morgan. The goalie produced the goods with his first long-ranger but was off the mark, in squalid conditions, thereafter.

His manager insisted he will remain Tyrone’s free-taker and suggested that the referee, Joe McQuillan of Cavan, should have punished Donegal for encroachment.

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Niall Morgan gestures to the Donegal fans after scoring his first free. (©INPHO/James Crombie)

Harte said, “Obviously I’d say it was useful for them to do. But I would still be disappointed with the referee, who don’t bother to deal with that.

Like if anyone stood right beside a man who was kicking out of his hands, it would be (brought) right forward, without a second thought. What is the difference? Is this right or is this wrong? Can people stand too close to the ball or can they not? Is it difficult to judge between eight metres or 10 or 12 or 13? I don’t think it is.”

Harte had no problem with the Donegal players shouting at, and goading, Morgan as he attempted the free-kicks but, again, suggested that the match officials should be mindful of abusive language.

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