Tyrone's refusal to engage with RTE will continue at All-Ireland Final
TYRONE boss Mickey Harte seemed surprised by RTE’s decision to release a public statement about the Red Hands’ continuing refusal to engage with the Irish national broadcaster, but then said that he was “happy with that.”
Harte has not granted any interviews to RTE, nor have any of his players or assistants, for seven years, since the broadcast of an insensitive radio sketch and the publication of a letter, to which Harte had put his name, regarding the deployment of their own broadcaster Brian Carthy.
Harte was understandably unhappy about a sketch mocking him on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1 on June 9, 2011, which included playing the song ‘Pretty Little Girl From Omagh’ less than six months after the murder of Harte’s daughter Michaela McAreavey on her honeymoon in Mauritius.
This year is the first since then that Tyrone have reached an All-Ireland Senior Football Final, but even if they do shock four-in-a-row chasing Dublin it looks like there will be no presence on RTE from the current Red Hand camp at any stage of the day on Sunday September 2.
As expected, RTE did not send any representatives to Tyrone’s pre-All-Ireland Final media event at Garvaghey yesterday morning.
When asked if RTE had made an approach about possible co-operation from Tyrone on September 2, Harte replied: “Not with me anyway.”
Told by another journalist that RTE had released a statement, Harte hesitated momentarily before saying: “Well, if that's what they did with those who have the choice over the contact, then that's fine, I'm happy with that.”
The ‘Statement on All Ireland Football Final Coverage’ was posted on RTE’s website shortly after 9am, the time at which Tyrone’s media interviews were due to begin.
The full statement read as follows:
‘Last week RTÉ Sport extended the same invitation to Tyrone GAA that it has to Dublin GAA, and all previous All-Ireland finalists with regard to participation in RTÉ coverage across television, radio and digital platforms.
‘This included pre-match, day of match at Croke Park, and post-match interviews.
‘Tyrone GAA have informed RTÉ Sport that the Tyrone management and players do not wish to participate in any such media activity with RTE and we respect that decision.
‘RTÉ Sport will now continue with its planning and preparation and we wish both Tyrone GAA and Dublin GAA the very best of luck in the final.
‘We will be making no further comment on this issue.’
It was thought that the impasse might have been ended in early 2015 when RTE representatives came to Healy Park but no agreement was reached at that time.
* Meanwhile Harte confirmed that the versatile Conor Meyler should be able to play some part against Dublin, having been forced off injured during Tyrone’s last All-Ireland quarter-final match against Donegal in Ballybofey on August 5.
The Omagh St Enda’s clubman missed the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final victory over Monaghan a week later, seen with a knee brace and crutches at Croke Park, but insisted last week “I'm ready to rock, I'm looking forward to it and it's a great opportunity".
His injury looked serious but turned out to be bad bruising and Harte holds out hope that the hard-working half-forward could be involved against the Dubs:
“Conor obviously had quite a knock and he’s working very hard to overcome that. The signs are positive that he will be available for some part of this final.”