The Tyrone team praying with Mickey Harte really shows their bond 4 years ago

The Tyrone team praying with Mickey Harte really shows their bond

This is an interesting one.

Mickey Harte helps prepare his Tyrone team for games with a pre-match rosary and sometimes they even head to mass together.

Advertisement

You don't need to look too far nowadays to know that the whole of Ireland isn't the God-fearing nation that once united the entire island. The majority of people aren't making it to mass for half an hour on a Sunday never mind going through the decades of the rosary in their own time and a lot of the younger generations are still looking for something to believe in.

To add to that, even if you are religious, you might not find it the most appropriate place in the world, bringing your prayers into what is essentially a battle. A battle that changes men. Sometimes a place where anything goes.

Then you have to consider that you have a group of individuals - probably at least 30-strong - and you're asking them all to engage in prayer when clearly this might be an issue for some of them.

It's genuinely a masterstroke that Harte is able to convince his panel to do this together and do it so close to games.

Advertisement

Imagine that dressing room - you have everyone from teenagers to guys in their mid 30s on the playing squad and you have boys and men with different life experiences and beliefs.

But the Tyrone manager is able to knit them together for a pre-match rosary.

Speaking to reporters after last year's Ulster championship triumph, Ronan McNamee revealed that the squad engage in religious ceremonies in the build-up to matches.

"[Mickey Harte] has a strong faith and naturally enough if you’re asked to do something, you do it," the full back said.

"Everybody pulls the same way, whether it’s saying the rosary or going to Mass.

"[The rosary] can’t do you any harm. I can’t imagine it’s going to cause anybody any upset. Whether we do it with Tyrone or not, I go to Mass every Sunday anyway."

Advertisement

McNamee says that every time the team are away - in Kerry or Dublin or wherever - they'd have mass on Sunday mornings before a game - and they'll have it in the hotel if they have to.

Perhaps it's not that big of an ask.

Advertisement

But you must expect that there'd be some objectives in a panel that size.

And, still, Harte manages to pull them together to sit in prayer for however long and, still, 15 years later, he keeps them winning.

McNamee said afterwards that the players don't want him to go anywhere. This is the respect they have for him. And the non-religious are happy to sit in prayer with him before the game.

Because clearly, when it comes to football, he makes up for it all anyway if you are not that way inclined.