Tyrone squad put faith in pre-match rosary

Tyrone defender Ronan McNamee says the entire group have bought into their pre-match ritual of reciting a decade of the rosary at the behest of manager Mickey Harte.

His fellow back Cathal McCarron revealed the practice of praying in his autobiography last year and this past weekend Harte revealed the inspiration behind it.

McNamee said: “He (Harte) has a strong faith and naturally enough if you’re asked to do something, you do it. Everybody pulls the same way, whether it’s saying the rosary or going to Mass.

“I can imagine any county set-up is a tight group. You’re seeing each other a lot and in each other’s company an awful lot. It’s nearly a club set-up only at county level. I can only imagine every county is the exact same, it’s a close-knit unit and whatever stays in it, stays in it.”

He continued: “It (the rosary) can’t do you any harm. I can’t imagine it’s going to cause anybody any upset. Whether we do it with Tyrone or not, I go to Mass every Sunday anyway. There is no reason why everybody can’t go to Mass the odd time.”

McNamee did admit it was a new experience for some players.

“Everyone comes from different backgrounds and might never have been to Mass since their confirmation. I go to Mass every Sunday and before every game. And when we’re away whether it’s staying in Dublin before a game or staying in Kerry before a game you would go to Mass as a team, whether it’s in the hotel or out to a chapel somewhere. It’s just what we do and it’s always been a part of it as much as the meetings.”

Harte is in the final year of his current term but McNamee can speak on behalf of the squad when he says the three-time All-Ireland winning manager should be offered an extension. “The players wouldn’t want him to go anywhere anyway, that’s for sure.”

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