President says absolutely no chance of Tyrone TV boycott

GAA President Christy Cooney has told Tyrone there’s “absolutely” no chance of them avoiding playing on television.

Furious Tyrone manager Mickey Harte suggested on Monday his team may consider not playing on TV in future as it facilitates disciplinary reviews involving video evidence.

But while Tyrone chiefs had softened their attitude by yesterday, admitting they’re unlikely to take the action, Cooney said it couldn’t have happened anyway.

“Let’s say we never had any doubt about what direction that was going to go,” said Cooney.

“We made it abundantly clear that we have contractual obligations and television cameras are going to be there for our major games.

“There is never going to be an issue surrounding that.”

Asked if he understood Tyrone’s ‘siege mentality’, having had three players retrospectively red carded using TV evidence last week, Cooney added: “There’s no siege mentality in this process. There’s no witch hunt.

“All we want is top class sportsmanship on our fields of play and if we have that, we’ll have no problem, regardless of whether the cameras are there or not. That’s it in a nutshell.”

Meanwhile, Cooney says he has no concerns about the broadening of Setanta TV’s coverage to include live Allianz league games on their subscription-only channel.

Dublin have been particularly critical of the move as three of their four scheduled football games on Setanta are on Setanta Sports 1, a subscription-based service.

Mayo manager and Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony described it as a potentially worrying development towards pay-per-view coverage.

“That hasn’t even been considered or thought about,” responded Cooney. “It’s not a matter under consideration for the Association currently.”

He added: “We have a contract agreed with them (Setanta) and they have every right to do what they’re doing. We will honour that contract. There’s nothing new happening here.”

Meanwhile, Red Hand supremo Harte will head to the US today to drum up financial support for Tyrone’s new centre of excellence.

The Tyrone boss is to appear at events in Philadelphia and New York during a whistle-stop tour. He will be accompanied on the fundraising tour in aid of the Garvaghy Project by leading Club Tyrone officials Hugh McAleer and Mark Conway.

The trio are due to return home on Sunday after just one full day in the States, and Club Tyrone chairman McAleer is hoping the short trip will lead to a significant financial boost for the £6.7m (€7.6m) state-of-the-art training and administrative complex near Ballygawley.

Tyrone natives Mick Treacy (Philadelphia) and Seamus McNabb (New York) have arranged gatherings of exiles in both cities over the weekend, and McAleer is confident that, despite the recession, many will commit support to a visionary GAA project back home.

“We live in the real world, things are not as good as they were, but we’re happy that it won’t be a wasted journey,” he said.

“How good it will be, I don’t know, but it’s like all these things, if you don’t try, you don’t succeed.

“Mick Treacy invited us out there, we have taken up his invitation, and we’ll know when we come home how worthwhile it has been, but we’re quietly confident.”


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