Speculation grows that Mickey Harte has request to extend term as Tyrone boss rejected

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John Fogarty

There is growing speculation in Tyrone this evening that Mickey Harte has had a request to remain on as manager turned down by the county board executive.

Harte’s most recent three-year term concluded last Sunday week when his team lost to Donegal in an Ulster quarter-final. That came a week after Tyrone secured their Division 1 status.

It would be the second time in four years that the 68-year-old has had an application for an extension rejected.

In September 2016, in the middle of a two-year term and after winning a first Ulster title in six years the executive said no to his proposal for an additional year. However, he received an augmented agreement 12 months later.

The three-time All-Ireland winning manager is the longest-serving manager in senior inter-county football having taken charge of the senior team in November 2002.

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Since then he has guided Tyrone to All-Irelands in 2003, '05, and '08, six Ulster titles and two Division 1 titles. Tyrone have also finished runners-up once in the All-Ireland (2018), Division 1 ('13) and Ulster ('05).

Several former and current players such as Joe McMahon and Frank Burns have argued Harte should decide his own future.

Last month, Harte’s fellow Errigal Ciaran clubman Enda McGinley pleaded for his future to be handled with respect.

"Have a conversation with Mickey and say, 'We feel you're the best man but if that doesn't work we want to have a second plan in place. Then maybe in one year's time, we're switching over.’ It's done on an amicable basis, it's done well.

“What we don't want is Mickey leaving in controversial circumstances. I don't think you'll get the best managers putting up their hands in that case and it would be damaging for the county and it's not the way you'd want Mickey Harte to be leaving either.”

One possibility is that Harte will now apply for a three-year term, but for the first time, it appears that other interested parties are poised to go for the post.

The county board is likely to invite nominations from clubs for the position of senior manager.

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