herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Sky deny that they asked to alter pitch

Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile
Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile

Sky have denied that they had any influence in the reduction of the Healy Park pitch for Saturday's clash between Tyrone and Dublin.

Responding to a claim from Mickey Harte (above) that "a request from Sky" came via Omagh St Enda's to narrow the pitch as they "would like more clearance at the side for all their technology" Sky say they made "no such request."

A senior Sky executive has told the Herald that the broadcaster "never dictate playing dimensions. We work within the environment provided."

On Friday, pictures emerged of the redrawn pitch which, by estimates, was somewhere between three and six metres narrower than is customary for inter-county games.

It was assumed then, that Harte had ordered the perimeters to be taken in order to reduce the space for Dublin to attack.

In last year's All-Ireland semi-final, Dublin made efficient use of Croke Park's width whilst in possession.

The Tyrone manager stated, however, that a request came through from the live television broadcasters to make room at the side of the playing surface to transport their equipment around Healy Park.

"This narrowing of the pitch is nothing to do with me at all," said Mickey Harte, somewhat unexpectedly when questioned about it on Saturday night.

"That was a request from Sky, that they would like more clearance at the side for all their technology.

"The Omagh club asked me would I be ok with that, I said 'that's fine, work away.' There are people reading too much into that, a conspiracy theory.

"But it was nothing to do with that, it was a practical matter."

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