Barry Monaghan - in action (right) for Donegal Masters - reckons Mickey Harte should stay out of Donegal’s affairs
A former Donegal GAA player has hit back at Tyrone boss Mickey Harte’s suggestion that the Tír Conaill county should have fielded against Monaghan in the Dr McKenna Cup semi-final.
Four Masters clubman Barry Monaghan said Mickey Harte should effectively stay out of Donegal affairs.
The former Donegal star added that Donegal’s withdrawal from the competition and the glut of fixtures, clearly put the future of the competition in question.
Donegal look set to face a sanction from the Ulster Council after the county withdrew from the competition last Thursday citing injuries, illness and players involved in Sigerson competitions.
Reacting to that decision Harte appeared to have a cut at Donegal’s stance when he said that a “county should be able to stand up” to the Sigerson Cup’s demand for players.
“Within a county, I think we should be able to accommodate that and stand up to it.
Tyrone boss, Mickey Harte
“I think there should be enough footballers at that level to be able to contest your games anyway.”
But Monaghan refuted Harte’s suggestion saying: “It is not for Mickey Harte to comment on what Donegal should or should not do.
“Mickey Harte obviously does not know what is going on in the Donegal panel and what players they have there.
“No more than Declan Bonner commenting on Tyrone, I am sure Mickey would not be too happy about Declan Bonner doing that.
“I am sure there are things going on in the Tyrone camp that Declan Bonner would stay out of.
“I don’t think he (Mickey Harte) is right, nobody knows better than the panel themselves about who is and who is not available.
“It is all right for someone looking in from outside making comments one way or the other, but it is only the county itself that really knows the true situation.
He added: “Of course, in an ideal world they would like to have played the Dr McKenna Cup but there are just so many other competitions run off in January like Sigerson and the U-20s and the All-Ireland club finals.
“In the past all we had to worry about was the McKenna Cup in January and there were no issues.
“It is ok saying there are other players in Donegal who could step in, but the gap in fitness between the inter-county player and the ordinary player at the minute is just huge.
“And what player in the county wants to go out and play against Monaghan knowing it is just for one game?
“They would have three to four months conditioning and nobody wants to be out in that environment where you are at a disadvantage right away.
“If I was an ordinary player I would have no big desire to do that.”
So is the future of the Dr McKenna Cup in doubt if the current fixtures logjam continues?
“It was always a great preparation for the league, there was no Sigerson, but a significant number of players are on scholarships and feel bound to play with their colleges,” Monaghan said.
“But there were over 5,000 at the recent Armagh and Tyrone match, so from a monetary point of view alone and other reasons, the Ulster Council are going to want it to keep going.”
He added: “If they want to re-ignite it they are going to have to make it more attractive for players and that means dealing with the fixtures.
“At the minute it is just a series of glorified challenge matches.
“When you see a team like Donegal pulling out of it, you have to consider its future.”
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