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25th Mar 2024

“It would be a disgrace” – Mickey Harte weighs in on league final debate

Lee Costello

Mickey Harte

“It would be an anti-climax.”

Mickey Harte has had his say on the debate surrounding National League finals and whether or not they should be scrapped to leave more time for the championship.

Peter Canavan, who played under Harte with Tyrone and won two All-Ireland titles together, last week spoke about the possibility of scrapping the finals in order to keep the integrity of the competition.

In the last couple of weeks some teams were trying to avoid making the final in order to prepare better for the provincial championship, and thus viewers were left with lacklustre games.

“The nature of the league with the league finals is that teams that are already through, could play weakened teams,” Canavan said on Allianz League Sunday.

“And that could be to the detriment of some team. It could put some team down. I would say there would be a lot of support if they decided to look into the structure of the National League, to do away with the league finals. I know that mightn’t go down well in some quarters.

“The integrity of the competition is paramount and at the minute I don’t think you’re getting that.

“And if it was a straight race to the top, then Kerry would be going out trying to win their last game, Donegal and Armagh likewise in their last game in Division 2.”

However, the now Derry boss does not agree with his old player, and thinks that getting rid of the finals would be wrong.

“I think it would be a disgrace to take away the league final,” Harte told BBC Sport.

“I imagine for the teams down the leagues, the chance to play a league final in Croke Park is the highlight of their year. It is as big a day as they are going to get for a lot of them, so why would you take that away?

“It would be an anti-climax if today the league was over and the team that is ahead would win the league. I would not like that.

“I don’t know what is the big deal. One more week’s football and shoving the championship on a week, so be it.”

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