red handover

Red Hand great Canavan rules himself out of Tyrone job and pays tribute to Mickey Harte

Harte’s 18-year reign as Tyrone football boss has come to an end.

TYRONE GREAT PETER Canavan has ruled himself out of succeeding Mickey Harte at the Red Hand helm citing family ties, while paying tribute to the legendary manager.

peter-canavan-and-mickey-harte Harte and Canavan after winning the All-Ireland in 2003. INPHO INPHO

Harte’s 18-year reign as Tyrone manager came to an end on Friday night, with the longest-serving inter-county football boss calling it a day. The county won three All-Ireland crowns under his watch, while Harte brought plenty more success at both senior and underage level.

But now as the era ends, the question is who will take the reins. Canavan, who has already dipped his toes in inter-county management with Fermanagh, was quick to distance himself from the role yesterday.

The reasoning he gave was family involvement, with his son Darragh recently establishing himself as a key forward in the set-up while Peter Harte is his son-in-law.

Speaking on Sky Sports through his work as an analyst yesterday, Canavan explained: “I made that clear that I had no interest. I have family involvement in the squad at the minute.

“I think to manage or to be involved in management where you have family involved, judgements are either too lenient or too harsh, it doesn’t rest easy with me.

“The Tyrone minors, if they were to field a team, I would have a son and three nephews playing in that team. I’d like to think in a couple of years that a few of them would be stepping up or trying to make the grade. So, it’s much easier for me stepping aside.”

“Regarding who it would be moving forward,” he added, “I think that there’s some good candidates in Tyrone. Fergal Logan I know has already put up his hand and made it clear. He was over the U21s when they won the All-Ireland a few years ago and he’s very keen to get working with those players.

“But whoever takes over, we’ve got to give them our full support. I hope the county does and I hope whoever is in charge can be the master of motivation that Mickey Harte was.

“I recall my own mindset going into those big games, how much you wanted to play and deliver, and Mickey was key to that.” 

peter-canavan-shakes-hands-with-mickey-harte When the pair met at management level. ©William Cherry / Presseye ©William Cherry / Presseye / Presseye

Canavan went on to pay tribute to his former boss, long-time mentor and fellow clubmate Harte, who he says has been a beacon of hope and solace for many families affected by tragedy and loss over the years.

He outlined the reaction to Friday night’s news in Tyrone, before sharing some lovely words on Harte.

“There was shock in a lot of quarters. I suppose a lot of people felt this day was going to come at some stage but a lot weren’t ready for it when the news actually did come. 

“Mickey Harte leaves owing Tyrone football absolutely nothing. When he came into it, we had never won an All-Ireland. I was on the Tyrone senior panel for 13 years trying to get my hands on the Sam Maguire. Mickey Harte arrives on the scene and I leave three years later with two All-Irelands.

“There’s two sides to it. There’s Mickey Harte, the football manager. I’m a bit disappointed that he didn’t leave with what he really wanted. He believed in this team that he had, he felt they were good enough to get their hands on another Sam Maguire. So for his sake, for the effort and the drive that he’s put into it, he certainly deserved that.

“Then Mickey Harte, the person. I’m relieved that he has got out of Tyrone management in good health and in good spirit, knowing that he has given everything that he could possibly give to Tyrone football.”

“Three things that were so important to him were faith, family and football. 40 years on, that hasn’t changed,” Canavan added. “Through winning the greatest competition that you can in our game, from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows — he’s been through a lot of tragedy as well — he hasn’t changed.

“He’s remained humble, he’s remained loyal. It’s been emotional, the last 12 hours. It’s not easy to let go of him. But I would like to think that Tyrone football will make use of Mickey Harte, he hasn’t gone away.

“And I would like to believe that there’s two men in charge of our own club in Errigal, that he could have a wee input there as well.”


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