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Mickey Harte's 18-year reign as Tyrone manager comes to an end
Mickey Harte led Tyrone to three All-Ireland titles across an unprecedentedly successful period for the Red Hands. But after his three-year term expired upon elimination from the 2020 championship, the county has opted for change.
Last Updated: 14/11/20 9:14am
Gaelic football's longest-serving intercounty manager Mickey Harte will not take charge of Tyrone in 2021.
The 67-year-old confirmed his departure, bringing down the curtain on his 18-year stint at the helm.
"In light of recent speculation, I feel it is appropriate to clarify my situation for the good of Tyrone football and for the supporters who have been with me on this journey for so long," he said.
"The 2020 season was thrown into disarray by the impact of Covid-19, resulting in a six-month complete break from Inter-county activity. Accordingly I requested to continue for another season to compensate for this missed opportunity to complete my final term in more normal circumstances. Unfortunately this request was not granted by the Tyrone management committee.
"Although I am disappointed, this feeling is far outweighed by one of immense gratitude for having had the privilege of managing Tyrone at minor, U21 and senior level for the last 30 years."
The Errigal Ciarán club man brought Tyrone to new heights, winning the county's first ever All-Ireland title in 2003, and following it up with further Sam Maguire Cup successes in 2005 and 2008.
Although Harte failed to deliver a fourth national crown, they remained highly competitive in the interim, reaching the decider in 2018.
His last match in charge came against Donegal, as they were defeated in the Ulster Championship quarter-final two weeks ago.
"Mickey's allegiance to the Tyrone cause has been unwavering and he has given of his time, energy and talent to bring Tyrone to the highest level of our association," read a Tyrone GAA statement.
"Mickey's dedication to his teams, coupled with his enthusiasm, ensured that he gave his best and the players under his care gave the same in return. Future managers may have many successes and accolades but Mickey will go down as being the first man to manage the journey of Sam Maguire to "among the bushes".
"It is imperative to acknowledge and thank the Harte family for the support they provided Mickey, allowing him to devote so much time and energy to Tyrone GAA.
"It is impossible to encapsulate all Mickey's successes as a manager in a few lines but when times return to some kind of normality there will be a suitable celebration to recognise Mickey's immense contribution and legacy to Tyrone GAA.
"In the meantime, on behalf of us all, thanks Mickey for the great days you have given us during the past 30 years; may you have many more years of good health to enjoy with your family."
The Red Hands will have a new voice in charge, and there is no shortage of high-profile candidates. Feargal Logan, who led the county to an U21 All-Ireland title in 2015, has worked with many of the current senior squad, and is thought to be the frontrunner.
Former Cavan and Scotstown boss Mattie McGleenan would be another potential replacement.
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Despite the change in direction being taken by the county, there is real hope for the next season. Conor McKenna's return from Australia along with the emergence of Darragh Canavan and the rise of Cathal McShane leaves a great deal of hope for the coming years.
Tyrone become the fifth county to be switching managers following their championship exit this season, along with Sligo, Antrim, Waterford and Louth.
Harte's departure means that Colm Collins is now the longest-serving manager in intercounty football.
Watch a live double-header on Sky Sports Mix on Saturday from 12.15pm, as Donegal face Armagh in the Ulster Football Championship, before the All-Ireland Hurling Championship qualifier between Cork and Tipperary.