DESPITE the threat of his top players sustaining injuries Mickey Harte insists he would never countenance bringing a halt to the club season to assist Tyrone’s cause.
Both Colm Cavanagh and Darren McCurry limped out of weekend action with their clubs just a fortnight ahead of the Ulster Final showdown with Down.
Cavanagh in particular has emerged as a key player for the county side over this past few seasons, and the Moy midfielder underlined his importance yet again with a man of the match display against Donegal last time out in the Ulster semi-final.
A relieved Harte stated this week that the knee injury sustained by the Red Hands ‘sweeper supreme’ wasn’t as bad as first feared and he stressed that, unlike other inter-county managers, he never considered asking the fixtures committee to re-fix last weekend’s round of ACL games as Starred Matches (no county player involvement).
“ There is a lot of talk that it’s all about county or club. There is a generality that it is happening everywhere. I always felt that wasn’t happening in Tyrone. Tyrone players get lots of opportunity to play league football. They’ll play a minimum of ten club league games, and all the Championship matches.
“ I’m happy enough with that when we work together. Every player in the panel is getting competitive football and I think that is an advantage. When you have players who are on the panel and not getting gametime, which is a fact of life with thirty odd players in a panel, it’s not doing them any good, or their club any good. There is a good balance in Tyrone where there is access to the players for a good number of (club) games.”
Harte though rejected the notion that Rory Gallagher’s refusal to allow his county players to turn out for their Donegal clubs in the weeks leading up to the semi-final contributed to their rusty, insipid showing against Tyrone.
“ It may have contributed to their lack of a competitive action, or it may not. If they had beaten us it wouldn’t be an issue. I wouldn’t say just because the result went our way that it is a major factor. On that given day we played as well as we have done in a long time and Donegal underperformed. That is what gave us a comfortable win. It doesn’t always happen that way against top teams and we were the one to benefit this time.”
While concerned that Colm Cavanagh had hobbled out of the fray with his club, the Tyrone manager was confident that he would be out to spearhead the Red Hands assault on the Ango-Celt come July 16th against Down.
JUSTIN McMahon has called time on a glittering career with Tyrone crowned by an All-Ireland senior triumph in 2008....
TYRONE'S capitulation to Dublin in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final rout will take some getting over, but Mickey Harte is determined...