Owen Mulligan: Sean Cavanagh should be thanking Harte, not slating him

The former Tyrone All-Ireland winner feels his county’s dirty laundry is being aired in public and he’s not a fan of what’s going on…

Every player or past player has a right to his own opinions on issues like his own career, or the successful teams he’s been involved in.

In my columns for Paddy Power News and in past interviews I’ve criticized Micky Harte’s style of play.

However, it’s almost an unwritten rule among the old guard that you don’t come out and be disrespectful to ex-teammates and management – especially when fresh out of retirement and in the business end of the season.

The timing of Sean Cavanagh’s comments is just not right.

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There is no doubt that Sean has been the second-best player ever to wear the Tyrone jersey, but his views are a bit of a contradiction.

While the forwards he named have suffered from Mickey Harte’s tactics, his own brother Colm has flourished in a role that Harte has created especially for him, becoming the best sweeper in the country.

‘Colly’ has also received an All-Star nomination and a full All-Star, all because of this role he plays.

So, instead of slating his ex-manager, Sean should be thanking him.

I understand being a pundit and writing a book is all about promoting yourself, but you can stay loyal at the same time, especially with the man that helped him win nearly every honour he has.

Managers and players always disagree. Harte was sometimes hard to approach as a player, but that’s what a captain’s role involves.

You thrash out what’s best for the team and being a spokesperson for the players, but that should remain a private matter and kept in house, it’s all part of our great game.

We shouldn’t have our dirty laundry washed all over the media. We are a prouder County than that.

Devlin v Cavanagh

Gavin Devlin is the type of man that’s going to come out swinging. But, if you poke the bear the bear is going to react.

Devlin shouldn’t have come out and said what he did. Questioning Sean’s captaincy credentials was always going to cause a stir and make a bigger story of the whole thing.

Cavanagh was one hell of a player and he did incredible things for Tyrone. But, our backroom shouldn’t be going out speaking on behalf of the team and having pot-shots at a former player, it’s not nice to see.

What you have to remember is Colly’s caught in the middle of all this. One thing I noticed after the game at the weekend was he wasn’t celebrating at all after the victory.

The final whistle went and he had the ball, but there was no reaction. I don’t know whether it’s because of what went on or that he was exhausted, but I did think it was strange.

Escaping from Navan

When the draw was made I always thought Meath were going to be difficult and the victory will bring Tyrone on so much. They were under huge pressure and showed a never say die attitude, that’s what the Championship is all about and you need a couple of tight games to develop.

You’ll get no tighter than that and it could’ve gone either way. These are the matches that battle harden you.

Cathal McShane’s late leveller took balls, massive balls. He’s had plenty of honours on underage teams and college teams, but that was a seriously ballsy shot to take.

I would’ve be his biggest critic in days gone by because he can make the wrong decisions and sometimes he picks bad shots. But, to take that on, under pressure, when the whole county needed a point that shows amazing leadership.

He really stepped up. That’s the sort of thing you need to win Championship games.

I thought the ref was poor for both teams. Meath should’ve had a penalty, Colm Cavanagh should’ve gotten a black card instead of a booking. He was bad for Tyrone as well though.

The Meath manager went for him at the end of the game, they would’ve felt that they should’ve had a free towards the end of the game as well. You need luck in Championship though.

Carlow Calling

Tyrone will be very happy with the Carlow draw. Another away trip down the country and drawing a team away from home isn’t such a bad thing.

It gives the team time to bond, go through a few tactics and iron out a few problems. Carlow have improved over the last couple of years, but this is a different animal to what they’ve played to date.

I fancy Tyrone to do the business and to start building momentum for the business end of the championship. I still believe we’re going to be there or thereabouts.

The players are there, they’re not quite firing on all cylinders, but we still have a few to come back.

I’m very confident that we’ll be dining at the top table come the end of the summer.

There’s no point in stuffing teams, a game like Meath will bring the team together and the supporters together. That’s what you want.

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What do you think?