Mickey Harte steps down as Derry manager

Assistant Gavin Devlin will also leave his post

Mickey Harte has stepped down as Derry manager after just one season in charge. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Mickey Harte has stepped down as Derry manager after just one season in charge. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

MICKEY Harte and Derry have parted ways after just one season.

Amid rampant speculation in the county over the past 72 hours, an announcement made this afternoon confirmed that the three-time All-Ireland winning former Tyrone boss is departing the role.

His assistant Gavin Devlin will also leave his post.

In a statement released through Derry GAA, Harte said that he has “decided to step down as manager of the Derry senior football team.”

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“I would like to thank the players for the huge commitment they gave to the Derry jersey during the 2024 season.

“I would also like to thank Gavin and the entire backroom team for their hard work, dedication and expertise.

“Thanks too for the support of the County Board and all those generous sponsors of the GAA in Derry. Finally, I wish the players every success in the years ahead.”

Derry chairman John Keenan thanked Harte, Devlin and their backroom team for “their hard work and dedication throughout the 2024 season” and wished them “the very best in their future endeavours”.

A process will now be put in place for the appointment of a new manager, with rumours persisting over a potential return for Rory Gallagher.

All seemed well when Harte guided Derry to the Division One title in the springtime, beating Dublin in a penalty shootout after a gripping end-to-end final.

But they were left shell-shocked by Donegal in their Ulster Championship opener three weeks later and never recovered.

Defeat by Galway was followed by a second Celtic Park annihilation as Armagh ripped Derry apart to leave their summer in tatters.

They recovered to seal wins over Westmeath and then a penalty shootout victory over Mayo in Castlebar, which gave them some hope heading into an All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry.

But the tepid nature of their five-point defeat, particularly compared to the dash with which they played in last year’s semi-final, only heightened the pressure on Harte.

Speaking to BBC NI after the game, Harte gave an indication that he might not return for 2025.

“Every year is what it is. We certainly enjoyed our time here and the future will take care of itself,” he said.

Harte had been a surprise choice for the job last autumn.

He was in situ with Louth but with Derry’s efforts to reappoint Rory Gallagher falling apart and an approach rebuffed by Malachy O’Rourke, they went after Harte and Devlin.

They swiftly agreed and informed Louth that they would be moving on, with Harte telling them that it was his ambition to win another All-Ireland and that Derry would give him the opportunity to do that.

Derry won the McKenna Cup in January and six of their seven Division One ties, the only exception being a home tie against Dublin for which Harte rested a number of regulars.

That decision was vindicated when they beat Dessie Farrell’s men in the decider.

But their championship campaign disintegrated and has led to his departure after just one season.