THE Tyrone managerial situation needs to be sorted as soon as reasonably possible according to three-time All-Ireland winner Ciaran Gourley, who still expects Mickey Harte to be back at the helm in 2021.
Speculation about the future of the long-standing manager has soared since Tyrone crashed out of the Ulster Championship in a bitterly disappointing defeat to Donegal on Sunday, but it’s understood it may be a matter of some weeks before the issue is officially addressed.
Harte was ratified for a three-year term at the end of the 2017 alongside his counterparts at hurling, U-20 and U-17 level.
His contract is yet to terminate as the Tyrone hurlers are still in action in the Nicky Rackard Cup, while an admittedly slim possibility remains that the minor footballers will get their chance to participate in the postponed Ulster U-17 championship this side of Christmas.
But whatever happens over the course of the next month or two, Ciaran Gourley believes the final decision will ultimately be made by Harte himself.
“I think it’s Mickey’s decision as to what he wants to do. I imagine he still has the same passion and drive and I’d be surprised if he’s not there again.
“If the County Board wanted to open it up, I can’t imagine anyone else would want to stand against him anyway.
“That’s my opinion as to what is going to happen and maybe Mickey thinks differently, but this year was difficult for a lot of managers so I imagine he wouldn’t want to bow out like that.”
While maintaining a great deal of loyalty to his former boss, Gourley was disappointed with the manner of their narrow provincial quarter-final defeat to Donegal.
In particular, he felt that Darren McCurry and Darragh Canavan shouldn’t have been substituted in the second-half and that instead the team should have gone straight for the jugular in a frantic finale at Ballybofey.
“Sometimes certain forwards seem to have been sacrified in recent years and I would’ve liked to see them really go at it.
“McCurry was very good and Canavan got a goal and a point, so it’d have been interesting to see what would’ve happened if they were both on the pitch at the same time as Mark Bradley.
“Mistakes were going to happen in the weather conditions and I think it removed some of that threat when those players were taken off. Look at how Darragh got his goal, it came after a mistake, and Mark got a point after a long kick-out hopped over a Donegal player’s head.
“In fairness the management probably had a better insight than I had watching on the television. You don’t always see what’s going on and it’s hard to see who’s picking up who and that sort of thing.”
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE
Posted: 11:33 am November 8, 2020