There is light at the end of the tunnel: Mickey Harte
MICKEY Harte says he has learned a lot more about the grieving process since writing his new book ‘Devotion – a memoir’ - and hopes people affected by loss will draw some hope from it.
In an interview with The Irish News today, the former Tyrone manager expressed his admiration for his family and John McAreavey since the death of his daughter Michaela in January 2011.
And following Tyrone’s dramatic All-Ireland win last month, Harte was full of praise for stalwarts Mattie Donnelly, Peter Harte and Ronan McNamee in finally becoming champions having gone so close in recent years.
In the book, released today, Harte also discusses his fractious relationship with RTE, his cancer scare in 2015, the near-misses with Tyrone and how his 30-year managerial association with his native county was brought to a “disappointing” close.
Ghost-written by Brendan Coffey, there are first-hand accounts from each of his sons Mark, Mattie and Michael and John McAreavey about the tragic events of 2011.
“When you read it back it’s very emotional, it just hits you,” says Harte, who has written two previous books about his career in 2003 and ‘09.
“And each of the boys’ and John’s perspective hits me too because even in that I’m learning something new.
“That, to me, I hope is a valuable part of the book; it’ll let people know that this is what can and will likely happen and that a family doesn’t grieve collectively...
“I think that’s what comes through in the way Brendan [Coffey] has dealt with that in the accounts with Mark, Michael, Mattie and John.
“And, of course, the rest of us are doing it for Marian [Harte’s wife] because she can’t really get involved in speaking about it… but I feel Marian is in there too.
“I really want people who read it to be hopeful about life.”
Tracking down Michaela’s killers remains a driving force of the Harte and McAreavey families, with John McAreavey continuing to pursue the truth about the terrible events that led to Michaela's death in Mauritius.
“John is everything he appears to be. He’s just a real solid young man… It would be easier to say: ‘Listen, that’s all in the past. It’s a sad event and I’ll leave it behind’. But he’s not. He’s really staying with it.”
Asked if he thinks they will ever receive justice, Harte replied: “I pray that it will. If the Mauritian authorities think this is going away, it’s not. They need to come up with a better sense of justice about it all.”
On the football field, Harte heaped praise on the Tyrone players for claiming their county’s fourth All-Ireland, and reserved special mention for three players who served him so well during his time as boss.
“I had great time for Mattie, Petey and Ronan McNamee. They were just real, loyal servants. They did everything to the best of their ability.
“Mattie was a great choice to be a leader. I just felt he was a real loyal man. They deserved their success.”
While Harte never felt weakened by the twin departures of Peter Donnelly and Stevie O’Neill, and explains in the book their individual reasons for stepping away in 2019, the Glencull man did say: "It left more fodder for the vultures in that this management team is going away.
"It’s the same when players walk away, it’s seen as a negative thing and that there is something not right about this set-up but in a strange way both of them made decisions for very different reasons and they happened at the same time.
"One of them didn’t want to make that commitment any more to that level and the other one was because he’d an alternative offer."