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Mickey Harte relishing bid to end Tyrone's All-Ireland drought


Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

?INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritcha

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

He may have been in limbo since Tyrone's defeat to Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final last month, but, after he was confirmed as manager for another two years on Tuesday night, Mickey Harte can finally build on the groundwork he had already been laying for 2016.

"The progress we have made this year will be no good unless we can build on it next year. That is the challenge for us now," stated Harte.

Now that the way forward has been paved, Harte is conscious that eight years will have elapsed since the All-Ireland trophy came to rest in Tyrone and that the county's last Ulster crown was captured in 2010.

But while aware of the statistics, Harte is also anxious to reiterate his enthusiasm for working with what he describes as "a great group of players".

"I regard it as a privilege to be involved with these young men who are a great group of players," said Harte. "We were disappointed to lose to Kerry but we are ready to face the challenge of 2016.

"We all know this is a results business and we are not one of the two teams in Sunday's final. People have always said over the years that the worst place to lose is in a semi-final and I agree."

Already a number of the senior players have enthusiastically endorsed Harte's re-appointment, including this year's captain Sean Cavanagh.

"All I know is that having had success under Mickey all through my senior career, it would seem strange to be managed by anyone else," said Cavanagh.

"He showed this year that he still has the hunger and the adaptability. The squad will be delighted that he has been re-appointed and we now have to get our heads down and look forward to fostering the morale and bond we have enjoyed this year."

Cavanagh admits that while Harte's re-appointment was deferred, he did not expect any change at the top.

"I wasn't expecting any change," stated Cavanagh.

"I think maybe a bit much was read into things by the outside media but as someone who has played under Mickey for all of my inter-county career, I am just delighted that he is still going to be there."

It is not known if Cavanagh will lead Tyrone again next year and it may well be that Harte may take time before announcing who will skipper the side.

Cavanagh's leadership proved central to Tyrone's progress this year and since 2016 may be his last year in the county colours, it would seem fitting that he should lead from the front once again.

Belfast Telegraph