Mickey Harte on Cormac McAnallen: ‘He could’ve been one of the best to ever play the game’

Former Tyrone manager said McAnallen is a loss to his family and GAA on the 20th anniversary of his sudden death

Mickey Harte paid tribute to the late Cormac McAnallen after Saturday’s match in Celtic Park. The former Tyrone manager, now in charge of Derry, was asked for his thoughts on the 20th anniversary of his former captain’s sudden death.

“It is a day we will never forget. I have often wondered how Cormac could’ve developed into, what he would have been like. We knew he was special and he had achieved so much in his short life and I fear we all missed what he could’ve become.

“I think he could’ve become one of the best players ever to play the game.”

Harte had switched McAnallen from centrefield to full back during the 2003 All-Ireland winning campaign and later in the year, he was awarded the All Star for that position.


He was also a charismatic leader, an asset recognised by his manager who made him captain at every level.

“Absolutely. I had great time for the man from 17 on the first minor team of ‘97 that didn’t win, ‘98 yes and the two 21′s. I had a wee goal for him and I think he would’ve done it – I think he would’ve been the only person to have lift all three things.

“He had the first two got and maybe they are the hardest to get. I think he would’ve got the three of them.

“He is such a loss to his family and the whole GAA world, particularly in Tyrone.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times