Mickey Harte: Tyrone manager says sport 'an irrelevance' amid coronavirus crisis

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte
Mickey Harte's Tyrone team last played on 29 February when they beat All-Ireland champions Dublin in a Division One game

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has said he has no interest in sport right now, insisting that everyone's energies must be channelled into the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

Harte said gaelic games action was an irrelevance, compared to the importance of saving lives.

"Sometimes we see sport as a matter of life and death in our own minds, but it never is," he said.

"This is a life or death issue and we all have a part to play."

Like all sport, the GAA, Ireland's largest sporting organisation, has shut down amid the public health crisis and it remains unclear when the sport will resume.

Currently, GAA facilities throughout Ireland, including their 82,300 capacity headquarters of Croke Park in Dublin, are being used as coronavirus testing centres.

"We need to be selfless about this, and do it for the good of others, and in turn we will benefit from it," added Harte.

"There's something very serious happening here, and we need to take it very seriously.

"We're getting this message day and daily about what we as good citizens need to be doing, and we can't ignore that."

The treble All-Ireland-winning manager called upon everyone to follow the expert advice on ways to avoid contracting coronavirus and passing it on to others.

"It's not about whether it affects us directly or not, or whether we contract this virus or not, it's about the knock-on effect if we don't take the simple information that's been sent our way, about washing our hands, of distancing ourselves and the social isolation that's required."

The Errigal Ciaran man, who has spoken publicly on many occasions about his strong Catholic faith, also said prayer was important at this time.

"Maybe when we have more times on our hands now, we should make more time to pray as well, because I think that will have a big impact on how we can control the speed of the arrival of the worst of this virus with us."

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