Saturday 18 November 2017

Mickey Harte coy on 'rufflegate' controversy

Harte stays positive, refusing to be drawn on criticism of his team as McCann saga rumbles on

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte during a press conference. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte during a press conference. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile

MICKEY Harte's staunch and repeated refusal to offer his opinion on the Tiernan McCann /'Rufflegate' affair represented the greatest surprise of last night's pre All-Ireland semi-final press night at the Tyrone centre of excellence in Garvaghy

In truth, most (all?) media in attendance expected something in the form of verbal sparks from Harte after confirming that Tyrone would be appealing the eight-week suspension doled out this week by the CCCC.

"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," Harte offered initially when asked on his thoughts.

But despite several attempts to prompt a more comprehensive response, Harte steadfastly declined, revealing only that he wasn't surprised at the action taken by the GAA's disciplinary bodies.

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

Possibly mindful of the potential for further controversy to cloud Tyrone's preparations for their meeting with Kerry, Harte wouldn't be drawn on the negative publicity his team have attracted for their behaviour in last Saturday's quarter-final victory over Monaghan.

"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," he stated.

"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," Harte continued.

"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, pobody's nerfect (sic).


"That's what we're faced with. So I wish people would take the good that's going on in our games, highlight that - and okay, acknowledge some things that could be done differently.

"We'll all agree with that. But put the emphasis where it best belongs, on the quality that's there."

Asked whether he felt observers were more inclined to accentuate the negatives with regard to Tyrone than any other team, Harte replied: "If I gave my opinion on that, it wouldn't be seen as objective."

And when it was put to the three-time All-Ireland winning manager that the CCCC's interpretation of the law governing the offence - and thus, the proposed ban - McCann has been charged with is unprecedented, Harte added: "I would believe that if you took a consensus of opinion across all independent observers, you'd probably find the answer to that."

Meanwhile, Mayo will appeal the red card issued to Kevin Keane at the end of last Saturday's other All-Ireland quarter-final win over Donegal.

Keane was sent off for a clash with Michael Murphy.

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