Mickey Harte unconcerned by criticism from likes of Joe Brolly

‘The barking dog won’t bite you because he is just barking all the time’

Mickey Harte: “I don’t know does anyone really listen authentically to what people like him [Brolly] say.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Mickey Harte: “I don’t know does anyone really listen authentically to what people like him [Brolly] say.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has offered guarded hope that three-times All-Ireland champions Dublin are beatable – even if he is unwilling to predict when.

“Sometimes those who seem unbeatable can be beaten. The day will come when Dublin are no longer All-Ireland champions. Who knows when? They may set all sorts of records before then.

“But if you were harnessed into not believing that it can’t be different then you shouldn’t be there. And I am not saying that we will be the ones to change things but we have to do the best we can to give us a chance to have an impact on the season.”

Harte’s term in charge of Tyrone was recently renewed by the county board until 2020. Last summer’s successful defence of the Ulster championship was counterbalanced by the heavy defeat Tyrone suffered against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Tyrone’s caution – and Harte’s tactical approach – was subject to pointed criticism afterwards. RTÉ analyst Joe Brolly has been particularly outspoken in damning the brand of football espoused by Tyrone and was critical of the decision to give Harte a further three seasons in charge. While Harte has not engaged with the Irish state broadcaster in a number of years, he acknowledges that he was aware of the criticism.

“Yes. But that is the barking dog syndrome. The barking dog won’t bite you because he is just barking all the time. And I don’t know does anyone really listen authentically to what people like him say now. Because they say it so often and it is all about elevating themselves by putting someone else down. That is not really a great way to behave.”

Harte’s ongoing boycott of RTÉ is one of the subjects in a wide-ranging interview published in Saturday’s Irish Times. Asked if he felt that his decision not to make himself available to RTÉ for post-match interview or other engagements might colour the way in which his team are analysed, he said: “That is possible. I mean, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the reporting on all that we do would have difficulty falling into the objective category.”

Harte sounded an optimistic note for a new football season which starts properly on Saturday evening when Dublin play Kildare in the national league. A compressed calendar and increasing discontent about the demands placed on players have formed the backdrop to the approaching season. Harte acknowledges that it is a big issue but was specific about one aspect of the debate.

Retired players

“It somewhat irks me that I see so many recently retired players complaining about this game – in the first instance they wouldn’t have a voice. They tend to forget about that. And the demands: I continually say they choose it. If you don’t want to do what is required to be good at this, go to something else.

“And it is part of the problem that when this is repeatedly said, you have people agreeing with it all over the place. And I haven’t heard one of our players saying: ‘I don’t want this. It is too hard. I’m away.’ They’re not. Anyone who feels they have the capacity to be there doesn’t want to walk away. And I think that is more of group think: keep saying something often enough and it becomes a reality.”

Tyrone’s most recent league title was in 2003, Harte’s first year in charge and they finished runners-up in 2013. They are fourth favourites to lift this year’s All-Ireland title. Harte is optimistic about his team’s potential without specifying how far he believes they can go.

“For me, there is a great enjoyment out of working with new players. I can see that they want to be very good at what they do. But let’s not put a detail on that. This doesn’t sound great for headline stories but it is really about us trying to stretch ourselves to new places. And if we do that, it will be interesting to see where those new places are.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.