Kevin Madden handed new role with Tyrone
Former Antrim star and highly regarded coach Kevin Madden is to join Tyrone’s backroom team.
Manager Mickey Harte confirmed that Madden will be part of the set-up in 2020, as the Red Hands prepare to renew their bid to challenge the supremacy of the all-conquering Dubs.
He is a vital piece of a jigsaw to be assembled following a couple of high-profile departures from the collective.
Forwards coach Stephen O’Neill stepped away at the end of the season after two years at Garvaghey, while strength and conditioning coach Peter Donnelly left to take up a full-time position with Ulster Rugby. He had been working with the squad since 2015.
Donnelly has since been recruited to the backroom team of new Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney.
It’s understood that former Ulster Rugby strength and conditioning coach Jonny Davis is set to replace Donnelly at Tyrone, but there has been no confirmation of that development.
Confirming Madden’s arrival on the Tyrone scene, treble All-Ireland winning boss Harte said: “He’s joining our backroom team for the 2020 season and we’re all very pleased to have him.”
The Red Hand manager suggested that Madden, one of the top attackers in Ulster during his playing days with the Saffrons, will not be specialising in forwards coaching, but will undertake a wider brief.
“He’s a broad-based coach, he coaches the entirety of the game, and he has managed clubs himself.
“He knows what the game is all about, and what he writes endorses that view, and we’re delighted to have him.”
Assistant manager Gavin Devlin is to remain on board, and talks with Madden will take place over the coming days to set in motion a strategy for 2020.
“We’ll be talking to him in the very near future, but there’ll be no on-field stuff until Tyrone come together again,” said Harte.
Madden has been in high demand as a coach at club and county level in recent seasons.
He spent two years as assistant to Derry boss Damian Cassidy, and at club level, worked with former Antrim boss Liam Bradley at Glenullin, winning a Derry SFC title in 2007.
He has also coached Dungiven in Derry, and managed Creggan to last year’s Antrim SFC final.
Meanwhile, the club championship is currently in full swing in Tyrone, with the SFC having reached the semi-final stage, and Harte has been scouting for fresh talent that could add strength to his squad.
“We’re always looking to see how our own players are faring in the club championship, and we’re looking to see is there any new talent there that might be fit to join in with us.
“The door is always open to new talent, and hopefully we’ll produce some after these championship rounds are over.”
Harte agreed that Kerry, who defeated Tyrone in this year’s All-Ireland semi-final, are the closest rivals to a record-breaking Dublin side that will seek to maintain its dominance of gaelic football next season.
“That’s what people believe, and that’s according to this year’s form,” he said.
“Kerry were in the All-Ireland final, so people are right, I suppose, to suggest that they’re second in line to the Dublin throne, and the rest are the chasing pack. And we’re part of that chasing pack, hopefully".