Feargal Logan eager for Tyrone to grasp their final opportunity

Current joint-manager remembers, as a player, regret caused by 1995 defeat to Dublin

Given his wealth of experience and lofty reputation in the legal practice of mediation – including in sporting disputes – it is little wonder Feargal Logan has slipped easily and well into the role of joint manager of the Tyrone football team.

It’s a rare combination in the modern game, in part because the buck, to paraphrase former US president Truman, usually stops with one man. And it can’t always be easy for two managers to agree to agree.

Tyrone have a tradition here, Art McRory and Eugene McKenna serving as joint managers for many years before Mickey Harte took over in 2003, including in the All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin back in 1995.

Logan played midfield on that team, his progression into county management also coming on joint terms when he teamed up with former All-Ireland-winning captain Brian Dooher to manage the Tyrone under-21 team, which won the All-Ireland in 2015.


What is certain, says Logan, is that despite some perceptions, the role is absolutely evenly split, not necessarily in terms of roles or responsibilities but in their absolute desire to get the best out of the Tyrone players.

"Listen, the beauty about Croke Park is that you are very close to each other anyway," Logan says of the experience of sharing the sideline with Dooher come Saturday's final showdown against Mayo.

“But how do we divvy it up? Woah, I can see how’s there two of us, put it that way. There’s plenty going on. The training sessions, we have Holmsey [Collie Holmes] Peter [Donnelly] and Joe [McMahon] are coaches and Des McGuinness. Brian and myself are involved.

“It as close to a straight 50-50 on everything. Which has meant the phone, a Zoom every night. I have been in more contact with Brian that I have been with anybody in football. It’s gut. Okay, before a game you sit down and we might talk out scenarios, but you try to stay light on your feet and light in your mind. Then, as it happens, we just do it.”

That co-role was put to an unexpected test when Logan was unable to attend the Ulster final win over Monaghan in Croke Park as he was self-isolating at his home in Omagh after several players had tested positive for Covid-19. He describes that experience in the light-hearted manner that is his style.

Brilliant management

“My phone was here beside me, and then I had the TV screen. The phone, I could hear the crowd and it still hadn’t happened on the TV. Then I was going, ‘shit, has that ball gone down their end, or our end?’

“And Joe, mainly was operating it with Brian. And listen, they were in good hands. I would have been better just putting my feet up at home, 100 miles away and relaxing. He divvied up all the subs that day.

“But I was talking to them, I was talking to them at half-time. We had an open What’s App call. It seemed to work and kept the line of contact to the guys, but you don’t know if you are doing right or wrong or adding benefit or not. But we got over the line, just about.”

Having played under the joint management of McRory and McKenna, Logan also understands the importance of the players having equal respect; that it seems is not an issue.

“Art and Eugene were a brilliant management. Art McRory was a colossus of Tyrone football. Eugene was a colossus of a player. And I still would be in good touch with Art. And the fundamental is this guys, and I mean it sincerely; it is a collective now.

“One, It is a fairly heavy shift and two, we do have fairly busy jobs, Brian and myself. But it is a group. We are here tonight, and there are guys sitting at home analysing videos, the medics who are 24/7. It’s a collective.

"Management is overstated. You are as good as your players but you are also as good as the collective. Because as a team and a panel, you rise together and you fall together. If Mickey Moynagh [long-serving kitman] comes up with the best substitution, and I mean that with the greatest of respect, the longest and best servant of Tyrone football – if Mickey comes up with the winning formula, I am as happy as anybody."

First season

This time last year, Logan was managing his club Stewartstown in the county intermediate final loss to Greencastle; on Saturday he's joint managing Tyrone in an All-Ireland senior final in his first season.

“That is the beauty of the Association. You don’t know what the future holds. At the back of your head every now and then you think, ‘could you do it?’ And all you ever do, all I have ever been doing through all that I have done in football, is challenge myself.

"We've had a short run at this, genuinely. We sat tight, then we came in two weeks before the league, then we had a truncated league. We went to Killarney and got emptied out, then started into the championship very quickly. But my thinking is, let's get the head down and see if we can win this, because I have been that soldier that came out the wrong end and it is not easy rectified."

So he’s still haunted by the 1995 final loss?

“We will talk about that again. There are a few things in my football career that I am not over. But you are not a million miles away.”