Tyrone's Niall Morgan urges county to back Mickey Harte
TYRONE ‘keeper Niall Morgan has urged the county board to grant Mickey Harte a contract extension and advised them to take a leaf out of Kerry’s book in how their southern counterparts handle their managerial business.
It is understood the Tyrone county board declined Harte’s request of extending his managerial stay until 2018 - a decision Morgan described as a “disgrace”: “They need to give Mickey an extra year, straight away, say that what happened was a mishap and move on because it’s not nice for the players,” he said.
“We’re talking about it, the county board is obviously talking about it, people within the county are talking about it - and it just creates a level of uncertainty around everything, which is no good for anybody.”
The fact Harte is effectively entering his last year of a two-year agreement in 2017 has only frustrated the Edendork clubman and he remarked on how the Kerry county board went about the reappointment of Eamonn Fitzmaurice with quiet efficiency.
After losing to Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-finals, Kerry announced Fitzmaurice’s services had already been secured for another two seasons: “To me, what the refusal of an extension said is the county board don’t think Mickey’s going to do well next year," Morgan added.
“They mustn’t feel that we’re going to be successful next year, that we need to get rid of Mickey after next year. It’s a weird situation. You only have to look at Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s situation with Kerry. Their county officers all knew in July that Fitzmaurice was staying on and the media knew nothing about it. The minute Mickey Harte handed in an extension request, it was everywhere.”
Sean Cavanagh has also backed Harte to be given an extension to his current arrangement with the county board. Despite guiding the Red Hands to last season’s All-Ireland semi-final, there was a period of uncertainty surrounding Harte’s managerial position.
But after a time lapse, Harte and the county board agreed a two-year arrangement. The Errigal Ciaran man, who first took the senior reins in late 2002, delivered Tyrone’s first Ulster title in six years after edging out Donegal back in July.
But they failed to overcome a resurgent Mayo, who find themselves in next week’s All-Ireland final against holders Dublin: “The whole thing doesn’t surprise me one bit,” said Morgan.
“But Mickey will hold his ground. He’ll not walk away from it. All it does is give us more fuel for our fire. But the sad thing is it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.”
Morgan was miffed at some of the negative commentary that came in the wake of their one-point defeat to Mayo last month. Describing Harte as the “full package”, the Tyrone ‘keeper added: “With Mickey, there’s never a stone left unturned. Everything is meticulous. It was hard to listen to some of the stuff after we’d lost to Mayo, that we didn’t look like we were prepared for what was happening.
“You’re left thinking: ‘If only those people knew the effort that was put in by the management team and the players and everybody around it, they wouldn’t be saying those things'. Mickey is so tuned in and he keeps all the players right. He’s more than a manager, he’s a mentor to us.
"He’s the full package.”