The All Ireland Final is quickly approaching with reigning champions and four-time consecutive winners, Dublin going head to head with Tyrone on Sunday 2nd of September in Croker.
Micky Harte has overseen Tyrone for the last fifteen years which saw them win the title three times. Every year RTE offer extensive pre-match and post-match coverage, including broadcasting from the winning team’s hotel however this will not be possible if Micky Harte’s team win this year due to Tyrone’s continued boycott of the state broadcaster.
Micky Harte’s family and community were left devastated after his daughter Michaela was viciously murdered on her honeymoon in Mauritius in January of 2011. Later that year in his capacity as Tyrone manager, he along with other county managers wrote to RTE with concerns over the lack of match commentary opportunities for Brian Carthy, in the wake of Micheal O’ Muirheartaigh retirement which was leaked to the press. Harte appeared on RTE Radio to discuss this issue but some of the recording from the interview was later used in a comedy sketch on the “John Murray Show” which caused grave offence to Micky Harte’s family and the whole community in Tyrone.
The Tyrone County Board issued a statement after the John Murray showed aired which read “Inappropriate references to the fact that Mickey Harte was associated with the Dali Lama conference in Limerick and the choice of the song ‘Pretty Little Girl from Omagh’ will give you an indication of the complete lack of sensitivity the presenter in question showed to the Harte family and Michaela’s husband John McAreavey, in what remains for them a very difficult time.” RTE issued of statement of apology afterwards saying, “The sincere regret of RTE was immediately and personally communicated to Mr Harte by RTE management following the programme in question.” The apology meant very little to a community who were all grieving for the Harte Family. Tyrone decided to boycott RTE then and have continued to over the last seven years, but this year is the first time since 2008 that they have reached the All Ireland Final.
RTE released a statement yesterday which read “Tyrone GAA have informed RTÉ Sport that the Tyrone management and players do not wish to participate in any such media activity with RTÉ and we respect that decision.” It is a blow to the national broadcaster to not have full coverage of both of the teams but it just shows how deeply the Tyrone community was affected by what happened back in 2011.
Tyrone GAA and manager Micky Harte made themselves available to other broadcasters yesterday at a specially organised media event in Garvaghey. When asked about the County Boards rejection of RTE invitation for pre-match interviews and post-match coverage, he said he was “Happy with that”. Micky Harte will have a lot more to concentrate on over the next two weeks, namely how to stop Dublin winning the Sam Maguire for the 5th time in a row.