Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has questioned the number of times Donegal selector Maxi Curran entered the field of play against Monaghan.
Eight days out from the counties’ Ulster final, Harte said reports of acrimony between the neighbours have been exaggerated.
However, he has launched the first shot across the bow by suggesting Curran, the team’s maor foirne, spent too much time on the field of play in the semi-final matches with Monaghan.
Asked about Curran’s presence around Conor McManus when the Monaghan forward was taking frees, Harte said: “Well, all I will say is that I fail to see the necessity to be on the pitch as much as some people do.”
Harte recalled the sideline ban handed down to former right-hand man Tony Donnelly 11 years ago for what he perceived as a much lesser offence compared to Curran’s behaviour.
“I just would like to let you know how things have changed. In 2005, when we were playing Armagh in a critical game, the All-Ireland semi-final, Tony Donnelly came up and stood beside me on the line for about 15 or 18 minutes in the second half of that game until almost the end of it.
“He got suspended for it and wasn’t allowed inside the wire for the All-Ireland final and the first game of the next season. That’s a far cry from what I see at the minute.
“There has been some change somewhere, maybe it will change back.”
Harte, though, thinks too much has been made of Donegal and Tyrone’s past, which has ranged from half-time scuffles to claims of sledging in minor matches.
“That is much exaggerated as well. There are a lot of people speaking with wonderful authority about this vitriol that is supposed to exist between Tyrone and Donegal.
“They didn’t show us any evidence, they went on rumour and the rumour mill.
“They were prepared to talk about it as if it was the truth. That’s all been investigated and dealt with and there was no evidence.
“It’s a bit like other enquiries that have come off recently where people believed things were happening where they weren’t. I don’t think any such vitriol exists between Tyrone and Donegal at all.”
Joe McQuillan has refereed several Donegal-Tyrone matches in recent times.
With an appointment yet to be announced, Harte said he doesn’t mind who takes charges in Clones tomorrow week.
“I don’t mind who referees as long as they are consistent. We never, ever expect them to be perfect, we just expect them to be consistent.”
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