Tyrone strolled to a routine win over Antrim on Saturday evening as goals from Tiernan McCann and Connor McAliskey helped them to a 2-23 to 2-9 win.
It was a result that many had predicted given that Tyrone competed in last year’s All-Ireland final while Antrim have been languishing in Division 4 for the past few seasons.
Despite the obvious advantages Tyrone hold in terms of championship pedigree. They also had a slight advantage in terms of knowing the venue and proximity to the venue when really these advantages should have been in Antrim’s corner.
Antrim were down as the home team but the game took place in Armagh’s Athletic Grounds, a ground Tyrone would have been more familiar with. The obvious reason as to why is the current inoccupation of Casement Park which is denying Antrim the chance to have a legitimate home ground.
It was an issue that Mickey Harte understood went against the Saffron County ahead of yesterday’s game and the three-time All-Ireland winning manager called upon the powers that be to sort out Casement Park for the good of Antrim GAA.
“Antrim need to be considered as a team who can be doing much better than they’re doing at the minute,” Harte told BBC NI.
— Antrim GAA (@AontroimGAA) May 25, 2019
“Obviously, not having a home ground is not good for them. They haven’t been able to play their home matches at home. They haven’t got that sense of place that they can identify with. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done; get the Casement Park thing sorted out number one.”
Harte also took umbrage with the fact that Dublin received plenty of assistance in hard times. The Tyrone boss feels the same assistance should be given to Belfast.
“Secondly, there was lots of assistance put into Dublin to improve the GAA situation in Dublin over the last number of years. A similar injection into Belfast and the county as a whole would bring Antrim up to the level that they ought to be at.”