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Harte eyeing the right mix of youth and experience: McGinley

 

By John Campbell

Tyrone triple All-Ireland winner Enda McGinley is the latest high-profile personality to be linked with Mayo as part of a possible new management team.

As the Mayo county board presses ahead with plans to replace Stephen Rochford who stepped down recently, Michael Solan, who managed the team that won the All-Ireland U21 title in 2016, has emerged as a candidate to move into the hot seat although he could face opposition from ex-boss James Horan.

It's Solan who appears to see McGinley as having a big part to play in a potential fresh management structure.

For the first time in several years Mayo were not involved in the closing stages of the All-Ireland championship this year and this led to much debate and soul-searching within the county.

When Rochford appeared to come under rather heavy pressure from a county board that is clearly intent on filling its managerial vacancy as soon as possible, it marked the end of a three-year tenure that saw Mayo come agonisingly close to winning their first All-Ireland title since 1951.

But if McGinley's tactical credentials are being sought by Mayo, then his heart remains firmly with Tyrone to such an extent that he is taking a particularly keen interest in the current club championship and is anxious to see manager Mickey Harte bring in some fresh faces and indeed some old, familiar faces as he prepares to unveil his 2019 squad.

"I think there is a lot of young talent in the county and I also think that there is some older talent too that is probably worth a second look," McGinley said.

"Maybe that would be running through Mickey's mind. The big step up to inter-county level means players must be taken in and perhaps given time to develop into quality players in two or three years time or he might indeed be looking at some of the older players that have been around the panel before.

"People like these could currently be playing well for their clubs and he might be looking to see if they are worth a second go. They would be brought in, I imagine, to make an impact.

"I'm thinking of players like Conan Grugan and Kyle Coney who have shown and are showing with their clubs at the minute just what they can are capable of."

McGinley believes that the current Tyrone championship is proving the perfect shop window for manager Harte.

"You can be sure that players who are standing up to be counted will be well known to Mickey because he knows Tyrone football inside out," added McGinley. "Obviously if there are players in this bracket who have been in the county panel in the past then much depends on the terms on which they have left.

"Yet if they have been inside the county panel and they know the life that it brings then if it suits both parties there could be a way forward.

"Obviously it's all down to players themselves. Maybe there are some who would like a second shot at the county and maybe there are some who are just happy to continue on playing with their clubs."

The emergence of players such as Padraig Hampsey, Michael McKernan and Kieran McGeary this year bears testimony to Harte's ability to pinpoint talent.

McGinley said: "I think that this was one of the real plus factors of the championship this year. You saw players come through strongly who had not been there before. Mickey will be hugely encouraged by this as will the players themselves.

"I think they will quickly develop into leaders within the team - indeed, the earlier they do this the better. If you look at other counties that have had success such as Donegal, you see players like Michael Murphy who have taken on a leadership role from a very young age. The late Cormac McAnallen of course comes into this category.

"The fact that some of Tyrone's younger players were our best leaders this year is a great boost."

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