Harte unrepentant over McKenna Cup stance

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte insists that he has to play his university contingent during the McKenna Cup to prepare his squad for the National League.

The build-up to this year's McKenna Cup has again been dogged by the issue of the university teams losing many of their players to the various county squads but Harte put forward a strong defence of his stance after Sunday's opening 0-13 to 1-7 win over Donegal at Letterkenny.

"Some of the universities will have played 10, 11 or 12 games since late September. We have played no competitive games since we played Mayo (in August)," Harte told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.

"How can we possibly go out to try and formulate a team for the season with the National League starting in the first week of February if we haven't a chance to put our team together?

"It is an inter-county competition. We don't go into any third-level competition and demand that things should be a certain way. They are really invitees to this particular competition.

"They do give us all an extra game and I'm very grateful for that but I think the terms and conditions that we play under should suit inter-county teams first."

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