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Mickey Harte: People In The South Didn't Understand What We Endured For GAA

Mickey Harte: People In The South Didn't Understand What We Endured For GAA
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Mickey Harte's life is one full of threads. On TG4 at 9:30pm tonight, Nemeton TV pull on a few of them.

At the close of 'Laochra Gael: Mickey Harte - Unquenchable Spirit', you're left wishing that a few of those threads could have been unraveled a bit further. In truth, an entire Laochra Gael series could have been dedicated to Harte.

One aspect of Harte's life which is touched upon is the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Tyrone man believes it's a period in Irish history which greatly affected Ulster football.

"When you're living through that, living through a conflict of that nature, you don't have your full mindset to be able to afford to devote your life to an activity which is a hobby because there's too many other things to think about.

"There's family to think about, there's the danger element in it. There's just not knowing what's going to happen next.

"From Down in 1968 until Down again in 1991, no Ulster team won the All-Ireland. It's more than a coincidence that there was no great success during that period of time which very much coincided with the Troubles at their worst."


Harte thinks that those living in the Republic did not fully understand what their GAA counterparts in the North went through for the sport.


I don't think that the people in the deep south, if we'll call it that, fully appreciated and didn't fully understand what exactly people in a GAA background had to endure, if you like, in many ways to keep the games alive up here; that people were killed over their connection with the GAA and that was the most tragic thing of all.

A week before the 1998 All-Ireland minor semi-final - which saw a Harte-managed Tyrone defeat Leitrim - a Real IRA bomb killed 29 people in Omagh.

Arriving home that evening, seeing his children was a moment of relief for Harte.


"My wife could as easily have been in Omagh with a couple of children preparing for going back to school to get uniforms and stuff like that. I didn't know if she'd gone or not. It's often that she would go.

"The phones were down, the phone lines and everything. People had heard that there was an awful bomb in Omagh. I went home and I remember just how glad I was when I saw the children playing on the street when I went home."

'Laochra Gael: Mickey Harte - Unquenchable Spirit' airs on TG4 at 9:30pm on Wednesday, March 28th.


See Also: Cavan Player Explains How He Got One Of The Best Nicknames In GAA



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