Tyrone manager Mickey Harte's not going back to drawing board
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte does not expect wholesale retirements from his squad in the wake of the All Ireland Championship exit at the hands of Dublin.
The triple All Ireland winning boss has already cautioned his players against making knee-jerk decisions in relation to their futures and urges that they should now engage in a period of reflection.
The suggestion has already been made that Tyrone had too many miles on the clock even before they met the Dubs but Harte stresses that the teams were deadlocked at 0-13 each with just six minutes of normal time left for play.
“I don’t think that this was indicative of a tired team,” he points out. “I thought that our experience might have helped to take us across the line but when they got the goal the game was as good as over.”
Tyrone skipper Brian Dooher (pictured right) will celebrate his 35th birthday shortly, Ryan McMenamin is 32 and there are three 30-year-olds in the side — Pascal McConnell, Philip Jordan and Kevin Hughes — while Stephen O’Neill and Conor Gormley are both 29.
“Obviously players can make their own decisions, it is an individual choice after all,” says Harte.
But his squad is nonetheless likely to be overhauled since some of those who did not get regular championship football this year such as Ciaran Gourley (31) and Ryan Mellon (29) have been part of the panel for several years now.
A number of fringe players like Peter Harte (19), Niall McKenna (19), Kyle Coney (19), Sean O’Neill (23) and Ronan McNabb (20) are poised to sample more regular action in the near future.
Tyrone were dealt a big blow immediately prior to this year’s championship when midfield strongman Aidan Cassidy, arguably their most consistent performer during the National League, sustained a dislocated ankle while playing for his club Augher in a league game.
Cassidy has not turned out for his county since then and in his absence Colm Cavanagh, another young gun likely to gain further prominence next year, and Kevin Hughes have formed the midfield partnership.
Harte will undertake another extensive trawl within the county and has already served notice that Tyrone will be making their pitch for more success next year.
However, they will play in Division Two of the National Football League for the first time for several years and it seems certain that this competition will be used to bring through some of the exciting young talent that perhaps did not get the opportunity to flourish this term.
Nonetheless, John Devine, Jonathan Curran, Dermot Carlin, Cathal McCarron, Davy Harte, the McMahon brothers Joe and Justin, Tommy McGuigan, Owen Mulligan, Martin Penrose, Sean Cavanagh and Brian McGuigan are still likely to feature strongly again in the Red Hands colours.