Tyrone board to move swiftly to tie down 'out-of-contract' Harte
Published 25/08/2015 | 02:30
For the first time since he took charge of Tyrone in late 2002, Mickey Harte is 'out of contract'.
Officially Harte's tenure ended with Sunday's defeat to Kerry, as he had no remaining time left since his last extension in 2013.
But the Tyrone County Board are expected to move swiftly to offer the game's longest-serving manager a further term as he seeks to build on the progress the Red Hands have enjoyed since being relegated from Division 1 in April.
Harte said in the aftermath of Sunday's game that he was "without a doubt" looking forward to 2016 and hadn't told the board he was going anywhere when asked about his future.
Harte has previously stressed the need to be in the top flight to have good prospects of being All-Ireland champions, and Tyrone's second-tier status will present a challenge in 2016.
He has put a sound defensive structure in place, with no goals conceded in their last six games.
He may also have a job to persuade his captain Sean Cavanagh to remain on for a 15th season.
Cavanagh admitted after Sunday's defeat that he would give consideration to retirement over the winter months.
One of Tyrone's rising stars, Conor McAlliskey, has pleaded with him to stay on.
"Sean has so much to give to this team. He showed that in every game this year," he said. "It stood out in the Monaghan game: when things got tight, Sean stood up.
"We have learned so much off Sean, and if there is a wee doubt in his head, we'll remind him to shake that off and come back next year."
The Clonoe clubman sees a bright future for a young Tyrone team that pushed the All-Ireland champions to the limit before going down by four points in a gripping Croke Park encounter.
"I always believed that we were on the same level as Kerry. Maybe people outside our team didn't believe that, but inside we really believed that," he said.
"Even though we got beaten by four points, we showed that we are up there along with them among the top teams."