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Critic Cavanagh angers Tyrone pals, but Mickey Harte won't be fazed

Speaking out: Sean Cavanagh has called for a change of boss
Speaking out: Sean Cavanagh has called for a change of boss
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Rifts between sportspeople who were part of great teams are commonplace, but the aftermath of Tyrone's defeat to Kerry unleashed a public washing of their own linen that was most unlike the Red Hands.

If one county was practiced in circling the wagons - they had both good and bad reasons for it in the past - it was Tyrone.

Their unity was always a great strength of theirs as they came under attack on a regular basis from commentators and media figures.

Now, however, Sean Cavanagh has well and truly broken ranks, and it rankles with some of his former team-mates.

With his brother Colm sending out indications that he might be on the verge of retirement, 2008 Player of the Year Sean decided that he would go further in his criticism of manager Mickey Harte.

Whereas before he might have chosen very careful words such as "autocratic" to describe his former manager, there was no mistaking the blade being lowered on The Sunday Games' highlights package. He stated it was "time for change" and "time moves on".

He even went as far as to suggest possible successors, with the 2015 All-Ireland Under-21-winning management of Feargal Logan, Peter Canavan and Brian Dooher front and centre.

All three men will have been entirely uncomfortable with that, as would Malachy O'Rourke who was also offered as a candidate.

Owen Mulligan was straight out of the traps to say that his former captain had "embarrassed himself".

"Sean always has lots of notes in front of him during those broadcasts, but he must have lost the page on what Harte has brought to Tyrone," he added.

Harte has another year to run on his arrangement. There is no doubt that he will seek another term. Equally, there is no appetite at county executive level to make a change.

Those who think Harte will step aside because of what is said in a TV studio do not understand men like him.

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