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Morgan and Cavanagh are urging chiefs to back Harte

 

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Full support: Niall Morgan has thrown his weight behind Mickey Harte being kept on by Tyrone

Full support: Niall Morgan has thrown his weight behind Mickey Harte being kept on by Tyrone

©INPHO/James Crombie

Full support: Niall Morgan has thrown his weight behind Mickey Harte being kept on by Tyrone

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan has joined the retiring Sean Cavanagh in calling for the Red Hands county board to extend Mickey Harte's tenure into 2018.

There is uncertainty over whether or not the three-time All-Ireland-winning manager will be replaced at the helm of Tyrone after his current arrangement concluded with Sunday's 2-17 to 0-11 semi-final thumping by Dublin.

Harte had appealed to the county board to confirm him for another two years at the end of last year, but that never came to pass.

However, Edendork man Morgan insists the Tyrone players are fully behind Harte and want to see him given the opportunity to win three consecutive Ulster titles for the first time in the county's history.

"If you talk to any member of our panel, they'd be saying the same thing," the 25-year-old teacher stated.

"He just continues to re-invent the Tyrone team and this is maybe the third team he has brought through. He's just unbelievable.

"There are question marks raised about him in our county every time we get beat, people want his head but his record speaks for itself.

"It's unfortunate maybe that we didn't get him there (to the All-Ireland final) this year to show the county board that he is the man to take us forward."

That echoed the same noises that came from Cavanagh after he bowed out of the inter-county scene.

The Moy man made his Tyrone debut for the joint management of Art McCrory and Eugene McKenna in 2002, but Harte was his manager for 15 seasons and together they won six provincial titles and three All-Irelands.

"Coming into this game (against Dublin), I genuinely believed we were in a fantastic place," Cavanagh rued.

"I believed we were good enough to take down Dublin and so did everyone in that changing room. And Mickey had us in that frame of mind.

"Success has followed him around for so long, he's built new teams time and time again. I don't see any reason why he would be replaced."

Morgan believes the loss of Cavanagh will be keenly felt on game day and in training.

"He's basically in the same boat as last year, I'd love to see him coming back out again but I think that might be enough for him," he said. "I'm sure he'll do the talking and let everyone know.

"When Tyrone won the first All-Ireland I had just turned 12. Sean was only 18 or 19 at that stage, and to have somebody like that still about is unbelievable. I was actually saying to people that in the last couple of weeks, in our gym sessions and stuff he's been the light of the place.

"It had to be hard for him, he knew he was coming towards the end and it would have been easy for him to be down in the dumps about it. But he kept everybody's spirits up. How could you not be happy with the career he has had?"

Tyrone will now go away to ponder just how to get to Dublin's level. Suspicions are that they might have just come up against the finest Gaelic football team ever.

"There's no point in us saying we are happy with getting back to Ulster titles. Our aim is to go again next year and push and try to close the gap," added Morgan.

"We've played Dublin, we played Mayo last year and we played Kerry the year before that so we know the level that we have to get to.

"It's going to take a lot more hard work next year, but if the team that's there stays in place in terms of the management - Gavin Devlin, Peter Donnelly - then I think we can close the gap."

Belfast Telegraph