Mickey Harte steps down as Tyrone manager after 18-year reign

Three-time All-Ireland winner informs players of decision to leave role on Friday night

 Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is the longest-serving intercounty football manager in the game. File photograph: Inpho

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is the longest-serving intercounty football manager in the game. File photograph: Inpho

 

Mickey Harte’s 18 years in charge of Tyrone football have come to an end. After a week of much speculation, the most successful - and longest serving - manager in the county’s history informed his players that he would be stepping down.

Earlier this week it emerged that the county executive had declined his request for a one-year extension to his appointment. Tyrone’s season ended two weeks ago with defeat by Donegal in the Ulster championship and with no qualifier rounds being played this year because of the pandemic, the county exited after one match for the first time in 20 years.

It was also the end of his most recent three-year appointment. The county made it clear that they would prefer to open the position to all applicants for another three-year appointment and although Harte could have put his name forward, he has decided to call it a day.

The county board will now invite other candidates to put their names forward.

Coincidentally, the news comes almost exactly 18 years to the day, November 14th, since he was originally appointed, having enjoyed great underage success with Tyrone, winning All-Irelands at minor and under-21 level.

Currently the longest-serving intercounty football manager in the game, Harte has found more recent years frustrating but he has nonetheless maintained Tyrone in the front rank of teams.

He leaves with a magnificent CV, having taken Tyrone to all three of the county’s senior All-Irelands, in 2003, ‘05 and ‘08, as well as All-Irelands at minor and under-21 and six Ulster titles. He was named Philips Manager of the Year in 2005.

In the past three seasons, and nine times in his 18 years in charge, Tyrone have finished the championship as Ulster’s top-ranked county regardless of who the provincial champions have been.

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