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Is it time for Mickey Harte to step away?

Steven Poacher looks at the evolution of Mickey Harte, the teams he has produced, and whether he still has something to offer Tyrone

Steven Poacher looks at the evolution of Mickey Harte, the teams he has produced over the years, and whether he still has something to offer Tyrone in the modern game.

BY JACK NEVILLE
Tyrone bowed out of the championship last Sunday as they fell to a 1-13 to 1-11 defeat at the hands of Donegal in Ballybofey.

That brought an end to the Red Hands’ campaign at the first hurdle and Mickey Harte’s 18th season in charge.

According to former Carlow and current Down minor coach Steven Poacher, it is time for Harte and his county to part ways to bring some “freshness” into the squad.

“Would a change help Tyrone right now? I’m going to say yes, I think it would.

“I think a change would give a freshness, give everyone a lift, a boost. He’s been there a long time. He owes the county nothing.

“He is a remarkable manager. Probably one of the greatest managers of all time.

“Mickey will go when he wants to go. And I think that will come out of Tyrone, it will be his decision to go and no one else’s really.

“But I think after 17 years, with the group of players they have coming through, I think a bit of freshness in the management would help Tyrone.”

Harte is Tyrone’s most successful manager and helped the county to their maiden All-Ireland title in 2003, before adding two more in ’05 and ’08.

They did reach the decider in 2018 but lost convincingly to Dublin, with their systematic approach looking somewhat dated in the evolution of high-pressing Gaelic football.

Harte has been a manager in the county for the best part of 30 years as he patrolled the sideline as minor manager before taking over the Under-21s gig prior to his appointment as senior bainisteoir for the 2003 campaign.

Poacher believes it may be difficult for the man to step away from the team that he has gone through so much with, with little negativity from the players and plenty of growth in recent years.

“It’s hard to argue with his record. It’s very difficult for someone to step away when it’s ingrained in them.

“There come a time when you know you’ve done enough. I’ve yet to see players come out in a negative way.”

“In football there is a fine line. What is success? If success is winning All-Irelands, then obviously Mickey hasn’t been successful recently.

“But if you look at the last three years, (All-Ireland final and two semi-finals), as a Down man, I would swap with them. Sometimes we are very quick to say, ‘he has to go’.”

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