GAA Football

Sean Cavanagh would like to see RTE boycott end 'for good of Tyrone players'

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte hasn't spoken to RTE since 2011, and there appears little chance that will change while he remains in charge of the Red Hands. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

SEAN Cavanagh admits he would like to see Tyrone’s ongoing impasse with RTE resolved – for the good of the county’s players.

Harte and the Tyrone team haven't spoken to the national broadcaster since 2011 after a skit aired on the John Murray Show on Radio One that the Red Hand boss felt disrespected the memory of his daughter Michaela, who was tragically murdered shortly before.

In the run up to last week’s All-Ireland final against Dublin, Harte indicated there would be no change in his position “as a point of principle”.

His former captain understands Harte’s standpoint, but believes the Tyrone players – and the county as a whole - are being denied the opportunity “to be represented on the national stage”.

“I completely respect Mickey’s decision – it’s a very personal thing and you have to understand where he’s coming from. He’s been through more than anyone has on a personal basis,” said Cavanagh, who is now a pundit on RTE’s The Sunday Game.

“I would be of the opinion that I want to see our players given the opportunity to be represented on the national stage. Like it or not, RTE gives guys the opportunity to come across well in terms of their personality, and sometimes that can open up other doors and avenues.

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“I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have endorsements, enjoy launches in Dublin and get a few quid for it. I believe our players should be given the best chance to do that and to express themselves because you only have one opportunity when you’re in that spotlight with the county.

I think they deserve it, and I find it difficult to accept that sometimes our guys don’t always get that opportunity. I just want to see the best for our guys, and I think the county as whole should be represented as best as we possibly can.

“I would like to see it resolved but that is all with the caveat that Mickey has his own personal issues with RTE, which is fine and everyone understands that.”

Regarding his own relationship with the long-serving Tyrone boss, Cavanagh hit the headlines at the start of the summer when he suggested Harte’s management style was autocratic.

He also suggested the inter-county careers of some talented forwards had suffered as a result of the manager’s defensive strategy during recent years.

The pair ended up at an event at Garvaghey just days after but the matter wasn’t discussed in any detail, and Cavanagh insists he doesn’t have “any issues” with the man who led Tyrone to All-Ireland titles in 2003, ’05 and ’08.

“It’s quite straightforward - I wouldn’t see him on a regular basis or anything. I’d say most ex-players would be something similar.

“Mickey has that style about him where he doesn’t let players get too close to him or his personal life, and vice-versa. That’s fine, that’s his management style and it’s always been like that.

“I certainly don’t have any issues towards him or any other management I’ve played under.”

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