looking ahead

Eamonn Fitzmaurice to consider his future while Mickey Harte expects to stay on

Kerry and Tyrone dropped out of the All-Ireland race over the weekend.

AND THEN THERE were two.

Tyrone and Kerry’s summer came crashing to an end over the weekend. The statistics didn’t make kind reading for either side.

pjimage (4) Inpho Inpho

Having shipped 4-30 in 140 minutes against Mayo, it was the highest score Kerry have ever conceded in successive championship ties. On Sunday, Tyrone suffered their biggest defeat in Mickey Harte’s 15-year tenure in charge.

As Eamonn Fitzmaurice sifted through the wreckage of Kerry’s exit on Saturday, he admitted he’d mull over his future in the coming weeks.

“I haven’t thought about it. Today was our only focus. We have to think what’s the best way forward for Kerry. We’ll do that over the next couple of weeks,” he stated.

“There’s great talent coming through. The challenge is getting that talent up to senior level. Even then, that doesn’t always equate to success.

“You go back to the drawing board. You try to get it right. It was what it was,” he concluded.

Harte was more bullish about staying in charge of the Red Hand, even though his future is less clear. Harte had his request for a one-year extension turned down by the county board last September, meaning his current deal is effectively over.

Mickey Harte and Greg Devlin look on in the closing stages Mickey Harte and Greg Devlin look on in the closing stages of Tyrone's loss to Dublin James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

But the only man to lead Tyrone to an All-Ireland title remains confident he’ll be at the helm in 2018.

“I do expect to still be here but it is not in my hands,” said Harte.

“Somebody else might choose to do something different and that’s their prerogative but at this point in time I have no intention of walking away.”

In one sense, the nature of Dublin’s 12-point victory made Tyrone’s latest championship exit a little easier for Harte to digest.

He won’t come away beating himself up over little decisions he made before or during this encounter. Tyrone were simply beaten by a far superior side. Any post-mortems will come back to that point.

Just how good are this Dublin team?

“It’s the best Dublin team that I have faced in my championship career at senior level,” said Harte.

“I think you have to give them that now. I wasn’t sure before today if that was the case, but I think I can be quite sure of that now.”

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