GAA Football

Mickey Harte the man to lead Tyrone back to the top says Conor Meyler

Conor Meyler is very highly rated by Mickey Harte, and could make a huge impact in county colours next year

MICKEY Harte is still the man to lead Tyrone as they go in search of a fourth All-Ireland title in the coming years, insists Red Hand star Conor Meyler.

The Tyrone boss’s current two-year term is due to come to an end at the conclusion of the 2017 season, after his request for a one-year extension was turned down by the Tyrone County Board.

That has no bearing on the players though, says Meyler, who was first drafted into Harte’s senior panel after helping the county’s U21s achieve All-Ireland glory in 2015.

Having just turned 22, the versatile St Enda’s, Omagh player is expected to be a cornerstone of the Red Hand side for the next decade - and he insists Harte’s drive and determination can take them back to the top of the pile.

“Yeah, big time,” said Meyler.

“He is committed to the team 100 per cent, wouldn’t miss training and still has the same passion in the changing room. The passion he showed throughout the Championship was incredible.

“For the younger boys, we know no different with any other manager. Mickey putting faith in you at times, especially in Championship games, you just feel it’s a real privilege.

“To know he’s won All-Irelands, and what he’s achieved with Tyrone, and he’s putting his faith in myself and some of the younger boys, it’s an honour. You feel that he sees something there – he wouldn’t play you if he didn’t feel you were going to benefit the team in some way.

“Ultimately that’s his aim, and he genuinely believes we’re going to win the All-Ireland.”

And while the influx of fresh new blood into the Tyrone panel helped end the county’s six-year wait for an Ulster title back in July, it was veteran Sean Cavanagh who stepped up to the plate when the game was in the balance against a dogged Donegal.

The 33-year-old Moy man – the last remaining playing link with the county’s first All-Ireland win in 2003 – recently confirmed he would play on in 2017.

Earlier this week he said his decision to remain was based on the belief he has in the current group to succeed, something Meyler says gives great confidence to Tyrone’s young players.

He added: “The older boys have been there and done it with Mickey and they know what it takes to win an All-Ireland. They know the level you have to get to and those boys feel we’re at a high enough level.

“Sean’s a brilliant leader, he leads by example. He’ll not veer away from any opportunity as you saw in the last 10 minutes of the Ulster final. Tyrone needed someone to step up and Sean was there.

“Having players like that you can turn to in times of need, it’s very important. He’s a role model. Everything about Sean, his lifestyle and all, everything is devoted to Tyrone football.

“He’s an example to the rest of us the way he leads his life. It’s very important to have somebody like that to look up to.”

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