Mickey Harte passionately explains how he drilled respect for the Tyrone jersey in his players

Tyrone take to the field against Derry in the Ulster championship today

Mickey Harte passionately explains how he drilled respect for the Tyrone jersey in his players

©INPHO/James Crombie 

Mickey Harte has spent over two decades in inter-county management at various levels in Tyrone.

His emphasis on respect for all the facilities and equipment associated with the team, is well renowned and has remained a constant in the Tyrone camp, despite their apparent demise from All-Ireland contenders to All-Ireland hopefuls in recent years.

As they prepare to face Derry in the Ulster championship today, Sunday Times writer Michael Foley, speaks to Mickey Harte about the distinctive Tyrone approach to their treatment of the jersey.

Apparently, before a minor game in 1991, Mickey Harte arranged for the Tyrone jerseys to be placed in piles in the dressing room. He then called out each player's name individually, prompting them to go over and collect their shirt. Once everyone had their jersey in hand, they all put them on collectively.

Harte explains how any actions of disrespect towards the jersey, amounts to an offence that goes far beyond the comprehension of the offender.

"This jersey had its own history. To make the jerseys fit to wear my wife and family had devoted their time to caring for them, as countless people had before us."

"If players tore off their jerseys after a game and tossed them in the corner, they weren't just disrespecting the white jersey, but all the people who cared for the fabric of the jersey. I wanted the players to feel that receiving and returning this jersey was more than it seemed."

Derry last collected an Ulster title in 1998, while Tyrone are looking for their first Anglo-Celt cup in six seasons.