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Tyrone doubters need a change of Harte

By John Campbell

The intense rivalry that exists between Tyrone and Armagh was, if anything, ratcheted up another notch in Sunday's thunderous clash between the counties.

But now Armagh manager Paul Grimley brings that respect to an entirely new level with an impassioned plea to Tyrone players and fans to get right behind Mickey Harte for the 2015 campaign.

Grimley, who invariably wears his heart on his sleeve, is puzzled that there should even be whispers of a change at the top in the O'Neill county.

"I cannot believe this and am puzzled by it," admits Grimley, "In my book, Mickey Harte is one of the truly great managers and will do a lot more for Tyrone.

"I had the task of going up to him and sympathising with him after Sunday's game but he has come to me when Tyrone have beaten us and never been less than sincere and dignified.

"I think that Tyrone are singularly fortunate to have a man of his calibre at the helm. If you talk to other present and past managers they will tell you that Mickey is up there among the greats.

"Sometimes people are quick to look for change without thinking things through and assessing matters from every perspective."

Grimley, who has seen Armagh's fortunes take an upward swing following their dismal league campaign, is keeping his feet very much on the ground and is urging Tyrone followers to do the same.

"We all have to recognise that sometimes things will go wrong. Mickey saw his team lose a championship game on Sunday but his status as a manager remains high," insists Grimley.

And he reveals that his players hold Tyrone's veteran warriors in particular in the "highest esteem."

"Just as Mickey Harte is viewed as a role model – and not just in team management, I might add – those players who have given Tyrone magnificent service are held in the highest esteem by my lads," points out Grimley.

"People like Conor Gormley, Sean Cavanagh, Martin Penrose, Stephen O'Neill along with the McMahon brothers and others have been and remain wonderful servants who set a superb example. Tyrone have a lot of good players and I think they can become a major force again. The structures within the county are excellent and certainly bode well."

Belfast Telegraph

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