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Harte: Disappointment at Tyrone exit 'far outweighed by feeling of immense gratitude'

The 68-year-old will leave his post after 18 years, six Ulster titles and three All-Irelands. But he’d prefer to have given it one more year.

Former Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.
Former Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

DEPARTING TYRONE MANAGER Mickey Harte has admitted that he requested of the Tyrone county board that he be given one more season at the Red Hand helm and that, while he’s disappointed to not have been granted this extension, he leaves the setup after 18 years with a feeling of “immense gratitude”.

Tyrone won three senior All-Irelands under Harte’s watch, also enjoying an abundance of underage success which began to translate to the big stage when he took the reins in 2002.

The 68-year-old was given a new three-year term ahead of the 2018 season, during which Tyrone reached the All-Ireland final, but that deal reached its conclusion as Tyrone suffered an Ulster quarter-final defeat to Donegal a fortnight ago and exited the championship at the first hurdle.

Harte confirmed to The Irish Examiner on Friday that his tenure was finally up following a period during which the BBC and the Ulster Herald had reported he had seen his bid for one more year rebuked by the county board’s management committee.

In a statement issued on Saturday morning via Tyrone GAA, Harte said: “In light of recent speculation, I feel it is appropriate to clarify my situation for the good of Tyrone football and for the supporters who have been with me on this journey for so long.

The 2020 season was thrown into disarray by the impact of Covid-19, resulting in a six-month complete break from Inter-county activity. Accordingly, I requested to continue for another season to compensate for this missed opportunity to complete my final term in more normal circumstances. Unfortunately this request was not granted by the Tyrone management committee.
Although I am disappointed, this feeling is far outweighed by one of immense gratitude for having had the privilege of managing Tyrone at minor, U21 and senior level for the last 30 years.

The six-time Ulster-championship-winning manager added: “I will be forever indebted to the fantastic people of Tyrone, and indeed Gaels across the entire globe. Through the various highs and lows, my family and I have been supported by so many good people from all backgrounds and communities.

“It is impossible to fully express in this short statement what needs to be said, but it would be remiss of me not to say a brief thank you.

“To the players, from the minors of 1991 to the seniors of 2020, I couldn’t have asked for better. I deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment to the Tyrone cause.

“To the various back room teams and County board officials, without whose support this adventure would not have been possible, thank you for being part of the journey.

“To club Tyrone and their members, thank you for your endeavours in helping us be the best we could be.

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“To the supporters of Tyrone, inside and outside the county, thank you for your loyalty and know that you were always at the forefront of our collective desire to succeed.

“To my family, who afforded me the time to dedicate myself to this role, it wouldn’t have been possible without your unwavering support – thank you.

“I am blessed to have had the good health to be on the side-line for every game bar one in all of those 30 years.

“Tyrone football has given me so much and I sincerely wish all Tyrone teams continued success in the future.”

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