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GAA Football

Confusion continues over Healy Park pitch alteration call

Ground staff getting Healy Park ready for last Saturday's game against Dublin. Picture by Ann McManus.
Andy Watters

CONFUSION continues to reign over who made the decision to change the dimensions of Healy Park for Tyrone's clash with Dublin last Saturday night.

Before the game it was assumed that Tyrone had made the call to narrow the pitch – within the GAA guidelines - in an attempt to limit Dublin's attacking options, but afterwards manager Mickey Harte insisted that the initial request had come from SKY Sports.

“This narrowing of the pitch is nothing to do with me at all,” said Harte.

“That was a request from SKY, that they would like more clearance at the side for all their technology.

“The Omagh cub asked me would I be ok with that, I said: 'That's fine, work away'. There are people reading too much into that. A conspiracy theory, but it was nothing to do with that, it was a practical matter.”

However, SKY have since denied that they made any request for the pitch to be changed.

“No request was made by Sky Sports to narrow the pitch in Omagh, or would be made at any ground,” said a source representing the satellite channel.

“Our production team will always adapt to the environment provided by our host venue.”

The Tyrone County Board made no comment on the issue yesterday.

Meanwhile, manager Harte is looking forward to a weekend off after an intense period of action for his team.

“It's probably good that it is coming at this time and players have been on the road,” said Harte.

“Even though some of these games ended up as good results for us, they had to work hard to get those scores and it was week-in, week-out and we have picked up a few injuries which adds to the whole thing.

“It's good to be where we are and we are still in with a chance. We will try to do our best to avail of that, but obviously Donegal will have other ideas too.”

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