Harte highlights power of the Hill

Mickey Harte has hailed the power of a Dublin-dominated Hill 16 but hopes there are no attempts from the terrace to interrupt tomorrow week’s All-Ireland semi-final.

The Tyrone manager recalls an incident in a previous clash, the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final, when whistling affected a key moment.

Applauding the Dublin fans on the Hill, he said: “I remember back in 2005 when we were maybe eight points up at one stage and the Hill got behind Dublin and I’ve often described it as they almost sucked the ball over bar five times to get us back to three, until we got that other goal to take the heat off again.

“They have that power. There is an energy that comes off the crowd whenever a player or a group of players do something good.

“I don’t know how it happens, it’s almost like an orchestra, it just rises, the tempo rises, and everybody feels ‘There’s something special happening here’.

“It mightn’t be that special to look at, but there’s just an energy about it.

“They have a capacity to influence the energy of the team that they’re supporting but I don’t think they have a big influence over refereeing decisions.

“At this level, I trust the referees to make the decision that is right for them because they want to do things to the best of their ability too.

“But I would say, one important thing, and this goes back to a game against Dublin, it might have been that one in 2011 (sic, 2010).

“At a very important time in that game we put a wonderful ball into Martin Penrose – and there was a whistle blown from the Hill. He just paused for that split-second and he lost that opportunity of a clear-cut goal.

“I haven’t heard it much this year, I hope it doesn’t come back again.But we have to be very aware of the possibility of that.”

The behaviour of supporters has come into sharp focus this summer with the booing of Andy Moran in the drawn Mayo-Roscommon All-Ireland SFC quarter-final and the chants aimed at Tipperary forward Seamus Callanan by Galway fans on Hill 16 during last Sunday week’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final.

Harte knows Dublin’s following will have plenty to cheer when Diarmuid Connolly returns to the panel next weekend.

The St Vincent’s man, who will have served his 12-week suspension by that stage, scored seven points from play against Tyrone in the 2011 quarter-final and highly regarded for his long-range shooting, is even more of a force now, reckons the Tyrone supremo.

“We always knew that he was a very talented player. You just see some players and you know they’ve got all the skills.

“And a two-footed player who’s comfortable on either side. And physically an imposing person as well; he’s not a small guy.

“So he’s got a lot of the attributes that you would love to have in a player: all that natural talent and ability; size and power for the modern game. And probably at that stage he hadn’t developed as much power as he has now. So I think he’s a Connolly-plus now from 2011, which means that we’ve got to be very careful!”

On the matter of tickets for the game being sold for extortionate prices, Harte said: “I wouldn’t like anybody to pay over the odds to watch a game. I think you pay enough when you pay the admission price that’s on them.

“I would never, ever want to see anybody pay over the odds for a ticket to any game or any concert or anything else. I think it is obscene to do that.”

Colm Cavanagh returned to training this week having taken a knock in the facile quarter-final win over Armagh.


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