TYRONE star Peter Harte has pleaded with the game’s authorities to stop tampering with the structures and rules of football heading into a summer of seismic change in the sport.
With the advent of the Super 8 quarter-final group stages this year, Croke Park has totally revamped the Championship calendar in 2018, but however that new format unfolds Harte feels that enough is enough.
The Errigal Ciaran star is one of the Red Hands most experienced squad members these days, having made his Tyrone debut back in 2010 and during the intervening period he has witnessed a lot of alterations within the game.
He feels that the GAA should resist any further changes, when it comes both to the rules and the structures.
“I just wish they would stop tweaking things. This past six or seven years, there has been something changing most years, whether it’s a new rule, new concept, new idea.
“Whether it’s the right or wrong thing, I’m not sure. Maybe time will tell. But it’s a bit frustrating when you’re in your playing career and things are chopping and changing around you.
“You’d like to get a wee bit more consistency in the rules and the way it’s going.
“After this year people might say it’s brilliant, or want to go back to the way it was, time will tell.”
Tyrone begin their latest Ulster Championship title defence against Monaghan tomorrow afternoon at Healy Park and the 27-year old is aware that the pressure is on both teams to progress.
“Monaghan finished third in Division One, we finished fourth, so you’re talking about two of the top teams in the country on league form. A win in the first round of the championship is brilliant, it takes you to the semi-final and lets you go ahead, and a loss takes you to the first round of the Qualifiers, and we all know what that can bring.
“So I think there’s pressure on both teams to perform and try and get the win on the day. We’re very aware of that and it’s going to be a tough game.
“We’ll have our eyes open going into it.”
Looking at tomorrow’s tough assignment Petey appreciates that it is a collision of two sides who really hit their straps in the closing stages of the League campaign.
“Both teams are coming into this game with a bit of form. Monaghan beat Dublin in their final outing, and we had a couple of good wins towards the end of the league as well. It’s a game that’s there for both teams, all to play for.
“I think even for people looking on, it’s going to be very hard to decide who they think might win it.”
However Harte warns that the Red Hands bid for three provincial crowns in a row could come to a sudden halt in Omagh if they are not on their game against Malachy O’Rourke’s charges.
“Monaghan have quality everywhere. You really don’t finish third in Division One, and maybe unlucky not to finish higher, without being a quality team.
“It was no fluke. You can maybe get a fluke with a big championship result, but in the league, you’re playing the top teams week in, week out, and for the last four, five or six seasons, Monaghan have been able to compete, beat the best teams.
“They have won two Ulster titles, and we have had a couple of ding-dong battles with them.
“We know this is one of the toughest days we’re going to face possibly all year, we know the quality they have and we know they have some brilliant young players coming through as well, and they probably have a better squad now than they have ever had.”
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