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New generation of support will inspire Tyrone: Harte

By John Campbell

Tyrone star Peter Harte has, like his colleagues, grown accustomed to the adulation that comes his way in what is a football-mad county.

The new-look side created by Mickey Harte and honed into a superbly fit, fiercely focused outfit by trainer Fergal McCann is already making waves despite the fact that just one month's activity, regarded as nothing more than preliminary sparring, has been completed.

And just as the fresh faces such as Conan Grugan, P J Lavery, Kevin Gallagher and Shay McGuigan have been stamping their imprint on the county canvas, a new generation of supporters is coming on board to urge the Red Hands to greater glory.

With the go-ahead Club Tyrone providing the incentive, thousands of youngsters are being encouraged to get behind the side as the drive to land the Allianz League title is stepped up.

And Peter Harte, clearly impressed by the passion and enthusiasm that the youth of the O'Neill county are displaying, believes that this could mark the dawn of a new era.

"It's tremendous to see so many young people coming to matches and getting behind the team," says the Red Hands centre-half-back.

"I can assure them that the players are very encouraged and take great heart from their presence at grounds.

"I think that Club Tyrone is doing marvellous work in the context of generating fervour among young people for football and my only hope is that we can continue to justify their support by the quality of our performances."

A teacher in Donaghmore, Harte sees the passion for the county team on a daily basis. And he is delighted that the county board in tandem with Club Tyrone has now launched an Under-16 season ticket, which will afford young people throughout the county the chance to be part of the team's ongoing itinerary.

The tickets have been distributed to schools throughout the county and will provide free admission to Tyrone's home matches in the Allianz League and Under-21 championship matches as well as all of the Tyrone club championship games provided that the ticket-holder is accompanied by an adult.

The tickets will be used for the first time on Sunday when Tyrone host last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo in the league at Healy Park, Omagh.

"Obviously Mayo have a very high profile at the moment and the match is arousing huge interest within our county," points out Harte.

"This is a hugely important match for us because we are keen to get our first win the league having drawn with Derry last Saturday. We will certainly welcome all the support we can get."

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