Thursday 26 April 2018

'It's virtually a criminal offence to criticise him in Tyrone' - Joe Brolly on Mickey Harte's future

Conor Neville

Joe Brolly believes that Mickey Harte will seek to cling onto the Tyrone job come what may.

Harte's reputation rests on guiding Tyrone to all three of their All-Ireland senior titles in the noughties, the first of which was gained in his first year in the job.

There's also the small matter of his leading his county to an All-Ireland minor title in 1998 and U21 victories in 2000 and 2001. 

Most importantly, the fact that Harte consistently masterminded victories over a star-studded Kerry outfit on the grandest of occasions marked him out as an all-time great.

These historic, emotional victories left Harte with a mountain of credit in the bank among his own people.

But according to some critics, this credit has now finally dwindled away to nothing after nine years without an All-Ireland final appearance.

Joe Brolly, speaking to the Throw-In, the Independent's GAA podcast, is not inclined to regard him any more as a tactical sage, the wise man of the touchline.

And he says the time comes when a manager must depart the stage. He doesn't see Mickey Harte doing so willingly. 

"Mickey would never do that (walk away). In Tyrone, it's virtually a criminal offence to criticise Mickey. No one in Tyrone would dare criticise Mickey. There's such psychological pressure on.

"There's a certain rump in Tyrone who, whenever I would say something which is pretty obvious I would have thought, would attack me. But there's another larger rump in Tyrone who would privately say, 'you're absolutely right.'

"If anyone thinks Mickey is going to walk quietly into the night has another thing coming.

"You'd have to say that his earlier career in the noughties and before spoke for itself. An All-Ireland minor title, a fantastic team in the noughties. And the reality is that a team can't win All-Irelands without the leader being right.

"But there comes a time. There's been a ten year transition now from the 2008 winners. And there's massive potential in Tyrone. Massive skills. They just need to change their philosophy in the game."

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