Ulster SFC: Injury-free Tyrone support ban on overseas camps

Ulster Council chairman Oliver Galligan with inter-county footballers at the launch of the 2019 Ulster SFC campaign at the Hill of The O'Neill in Dungannon
Ulster Council chairman Oliver Galligan with inter-county footballers at the launch of the 2019 Ulster SFC campaign at the Hill of The O'Neill in Dungannon

Mickey Harte has backed the GAA's crackdown on overseas training camps.

The move to ban teams going abroad will apply from 2020 while home-based camps will also be limited to three days.

Armagh were among the counties to fall foul of the rules in 2018 and were back in Portugal last week - this time with proper clearance from Croke Park.

"I was never really an advocate of foreign holidays anyway," said Tyrone manager Harte, "so it [a ban] wouldn't bother me at all".

The GAA's attempts to curtail the pre-Championship trips follows on from a series of controversies in recent seasons.

Armagh and Laois footballers forfeited home advantage for one game in this season's Allianz League for breaking the rules on training camps last year.

Dublin footballers and Wexford hurlers escaped punishment, insisting their trips did not include training.

The contentious rule was amended at this year's annual congress to ensure counties received permission from the Central Competitions Control Committee - provided they left four weekends free for club activity in April. But from next year, overseas trips will be banned.

Some of Ulster's senior inter-county footballers launch this year's championship at the Hill of The O'Neill in Dungannon
Some of Ulster's senior inter-county footballers launch this year's championship at the Hill of The O'Neill in Dungannon

"I thought it was an awful lot to ask of the players to give up that much of their time," Harte stated.

"When you're away, you'd feel you've got to put so much into this. I wonder how can you put so much into consecutive days?

"I feel a few days in Ireland, at the right place and the right time, will be just as beneficial."

Harte reported no injury concerns ahead of their Ulster SFC opener against Derry on 12 May, with one more round of club games to be played before they host the Oak Leafers in Omagh.

"There have been a few niggles of course as there always is when players are playing five games in consecutive weeks, but I'm very happy that it's as good as it is at the moment and hopefully it will stay that way," added the three-time All-Ireland winning boss.

Mark Bradley, who missed the league campaign due to his studies in Liverpool, will not return in 2019 with Harte indicating the forward may opt to play football in America for the summer.

"Maybe if he wants to do that trip then this is the time to do it," Harte said.

"So he's taken this year out probably from county football maybe to enable him to get a chance to that again."

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