Thursday 22 August 2019

'Former players and the county board don't seem to question it' - Tomás Ó Sé has his say on Mickey Harte's future

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte following Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final defeat to Kerry at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte following Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final defeat to Kerry at Croke Park. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Tony Considine

Tomás Ó Sé has questioned whether Mickey Harte's influence over football in Tyrone has reached the point where it's damaging the county.

Harte has just finished his 17th season in charge and has been at the helm for the most successful period in the county's history, leading them to their only three All-Ireland titles.

Yet with the last of those coming in 2008, their latest bid fell short at the semi-final stage on Sunday. A stirring second-half from Kerry saw the Red-Hand men unable to build on a promising half-time lead.

"Mickey Harte is no doubt the greatest manager Tyrone have ever had. He's done everything from underage all the way up," Ó Sé told The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast in association with Bord Gais Energy.

"But the time comes when players and managers ask themselves 'Can I do anything here, can I change it around?' I don't think this Tyrone team have come on tactically in the last three or four years in a way where they can win an All-Ireland.

"It's not for me to say that Mickey Harte should walk away. Sean Cavanagh has been the one outspoken man who has said this is wrong or that is wrong in the past and who suggested he should resign last night (On The Sunday Game).

"It's nothing against Mickey Harte but it seems like the former players and the county board don't seem to question it. I've been a fan of his for years but from the outside, it seems like he runs the place. He'll go on his terms whenever it is."

In the 11 years since Tyrone last won Sam Maguire, they have played the other big three of Dublin, Mayo and Kerry on 11 occasions. The fact that they have lost all 11 has raised questions of whether the issue is down to the strength of their panel or their tactical approach.

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And while Dublin are clearly seen as an outlier with them being one game away from an unprecedented five-in-a-row, it's the defeats to the other three that have had some Tyrone fans asking the questions that others don't seem to be.

"Maybe Tyrone are at a level where they can get so far but they don't have the players to take the final step. When it comes to Dublin it's a huge step," the five-time All-Ireland winner concluded.

"It's a hard question and maybe the answer is, he is the right man. If he is then grand, everyone row in behind him.

"But I do know that amongst his own county, a lot of the other fellas have so much respect for him that they might think one way but they won't say it. And I don't think that's to the good of Tyrone football.

"There seems to be a silence above there but there isn't a silence amongst their fans."

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