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Mickey Harte nets new three-year deal with Tyrone


By Declan Bogue

Mickey Harte's term in charge of Tyrone's senior footballers will stretch into a 17th consecutive season after he was returned to the post at the monthly county board meeting in Garvaghey last night.

In a swift evening of taking care of business, the Errigal Ciaran man was returned to his post for an additional three years, just nine days after Tyrone exited the All-Ireland series to Dublin, suffering the heaviest Championship defeat in Harte's time as manager.

Harte held a players' meeting on Monday night to sift through the debris of the 2-17 to 0-11 Dublin defeat and plan out preparations for 2018.

The same night he also met members of the county board management committee - Chairperson Roisín Jordan, Secretary Dominic McCaughey and Treasurer Raymond McKeown - to flesh out details of his agreement.

The roles of Red Hands Under-21 manager, and minors, with age-grades changing to Under-20 and Under-17 respectively, were not dealt with and will presumably now be addressed at the October county board meeting.

Earlier in the day, the now-retired Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh gave Harte his approval to carry on in the lack of credible alternatives, stating: "I think change is good every now and again for sure, but it's trying to work out who the change would be and who would be willing to step into his shoes.

"You can only assess what's better for the county when you actually know what's available to the county and who is capable and willing to step into that role."

Speaking at the launch of the Kilmacud Sevens Tournament, the three-time All-Ireland winner continued: "I know Mickey has obviously gave it everything he has had and he's always done that for the past 16 years.

"I feel there's a serious team there at the minute and you just want them to have the right backing.

"With Tyrone, sometimes there is a bit of discontent amongst the county board and things like that that go on in the background. A lot of counties have that, it's not necessarily a good thing but it's tricky.

"My honest opinion is that Mickey has built a new team. I know we didn't perform the way we should have last Sunday but unless there's some one better available to come and do his job, there's no reason why he wouldn't continue," he added.

"I know he's already making plans for 2018 so I feel he'll continue for sure.

"It's only at that point where people in the county believe that there's a better alternative available; that's where the change might happen. I suspect Mickey will probably be given the time to make his own decision to a certain extent."

Cavanagh also admitted he has never came up against a side as good as Dublin in the recent loss.

"I have to admit, they were the best team I've ever played against at inter-county level," he said.

Meanwhile, Donegal have confirmed that Seamus McEnaney has also withdrawn from the race to succeed Rory Gallagher.

Another candidate, Gary McDaid of Glenswilly, has also withdrawn.

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