Monday 26 August 2019

Owen Mulligan hits out at former team-mate Sean Cavanagh over 'embarrassing' Mickey Harte comments

Mickey Harte and Sean Cavanagh
Mickey Harte and Sean Cavanagh

Harry Clarke

Owen Mulligan has hit out at former team-mate Sean Cavanagh for his "embarrassing" comments about Mickey Harte.

Following Kerry's All-Ireland semi-final victory over Tyrone in Croke Park, Sunday Game host Des Cahill asked the panel if the Red Hand need to freshen things up after 17 years of Harte at the helm.

Both Ciaran Whelan and Malachy O'Rourke argued that such a move would have its benefits before Cavanagh said: "He's been an amazing servant for the county; the three All-Ireland titles.

"But the reality is that the likes of Art McRory and Eugene McKenna were there for a long time before him and did amazing work as well.

"And there does come a time when that baton has to be passed on.

"He's given his life to Tyrone football but there are other guys there. The likes of Fergal Logan, Peter Canavan, Brian Dooher are big names in Tyrone football as well.

"And the core of that team today won an U21 title with those guys. Maybe it's time for someone like that in."

Cavanagh then joked: "I was sitting in the canteen earlier and I saw Malachy (O'Rourke) filling in a CV, I know he lives quite close to Garvaghy so....."

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Writing a column for Paddy Power, Mulligan labelled Cavanagh's contribution "embarrassing".

"Incredibly, he summed Mickey Harte with just six words. 'An amazing servant for the county'," said Mulligan.

"That was before he introduced the word "but", and go on to cover it up with positive comments about previous management teams.

"Really, is that it Sean? Jesus! I know men that have served committees that are amazing servants for the county.

"He's delivered 37 trophies in 28 years. 23 of those trophies with the Tyrone Senior team.

"Mickey revolutionised the fortunes of county football in Tyrone, and all Sean can offer is six words on him before he went on to humiliate poor Malachy O'Rourke.

"Yes, Malachy and others inside the county might well be interested in the job, but they aren't going to declare that when Harte still has another year to run on his current arrangement with the county board.

"Harte will be sore, not because of Sean Cavanagh's embarrassing comments, but because Tyrone let the semi-final slip away from them when it was there for the taking. Tactically, Peter Keane got one over on him."

It's not the first time Mulligan has criticised Cavanagh for his views on Harte.

last year Cavanagh described his former manager as 'autocratic', claiming some of Tyrone's talented attackers had suffered under Harte's tactics.

However Mulligan, who won three All-Ireland titles with Tyrone as a player, criticised Cavanagh for speaking out against his old team, saying that he should be thankful to Harte for creating a role that had allowed his brother Colm to flourish.

"His comments are a bit of a contradiction," said Mulligan at the time.

"While the forwards he named suffered from Harte’s tactics, his own brother Colly has flourished in a role that Micky Harte has created especially for him, and has become the best sweeper in the country. Colly has also received an All-Star nomination and a full All-star, all because of this role he plays. So, instead of slating his ex-manager, he should be thanking him.

"I understand being a pundit and writing a book is all about promoting yourself, but you can stay loyal at the same time, especially when the man helped him win nearly every honour he has."

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