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16th Jul 2023

“Take it easy man” – Mickey Harte and Oisin McConville’s rivalry makes BBC coverage worth the watch

Lee Costello

Harte McConville

“It’s right again, for Oisin is wrong twice.”

Mickey Harte and Oisin McConville have struck up a punditry duo that nobody saw coming, as the two rivals entertained viewers with their game of one-upmanship.

Kerry defeated Derry in an enthralling tie that saw the Ulster team lead for most of the game, but ultimately fall in short in the end.

Naturally with games of this magnitude and intensity, there were a lot of decisions made by match officials that needed to be analysed, scrutinised and debated.

This created the perfect platform for Harte and McConville, two natural foes given their Tyrone and Armagh heritage, to clash heads, and it was great to watch.

The first decision that was debated was Diarmuid O’Connor’s black card in the first half, where he was deemed to have cynically fouled Brendan Rogers.

McConville didn’t agree with this, claiming that there wasn’t an actual ‘pull down’ as such, and it was more a case of momentum causing the collision.

Of course, Harte disagreed, and saw it as a blatant foul, so the punditry team went to Maurice Deegan, the former referee who was also a part of the programme to give the final answer.

The ex-match official give the nod to Harte, stating that it was a pull and therefor a deserving black card, which sparked the former Armagh star to question it further.

Harte then made the point that Sean Hurson made a similar decision yesterday, in the Monaghan vs Dublin game, and that added pressure to John McQuillan.

McConville, who was not going to take it standing down, interrupted and said “It wasn’t even in the same vicinity of being similar.”

“Of course it was,” replied his colleague. “No it wasn’t.”

“Take it easy man, take it easy,” was Harte’s way of cooling the situation, which incited laughter from Michael Murphy who was also on the panel, and played the role as mediator.

Shane Ryan’s catch which led to an important Kerry score was well-debated as well, because the keeper turned his back as he jumped with both feet in the air, colliding with a derry player in the process.

The current Louth manager thought it was a foul all day long, saying that he “didn’t need to turn into the player because he already had the ball” while both Murphy and McConville made the point that he wouldn’t have won the ball without doing that in the first place.

Once again however, Keegan sided with Harte, much to his delight as the Errigal Ciaran native pointed out that “it’s right again, for Oisin is wrong twice.”

As the show was being concluded, all of the pundits were asked to make a prediction on which team will win the All-Ireland final between Dublin and Kerry, and the series of answers went as follows:

Harte: Dublin.

McConville: Kerry, because he said Dublin.

Murphy: *sigh* Is there any point in me even saying?

Of course it’s all very light-hearted and well-spirited, but it does bring the element of fun that you would see on the likes of Sky Sports Monday Night Football between Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.

Harte and McConville – the duo you didn’t know you needed.

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