GAA

'I Didn't See It As An Extension, I Saw It As A Replacement Of A Lost Year'

'I Didn't See It As An Extension, I Saw It As A Replacement Of A Lost Year'

Just days following his departure from inter-county management, Mickey Harte joined the world of punditry.

The 68-year-old was part of BBC Northern Ireland's coverage of the Ulster football semi-final between Cavan and Down.

Harte's time as Tyrone manager came to an end during the week after 18 seasons and three All-Ireland titles.

His three-year term, which had been agreed in 2017 concluded following the defeat to Donegal last weekend. Harte wanted to remain on for another year but, as he explained, people within the Tyrone county board thought has other ideas.

"I had been speaking to the chairman during the week," Harte said.

"He knew there was a meeting going on that was going to decide what I asked for, which I thought wasn't unreasonable given the year that was in it.

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"I was finishing at the end of the year anyway. I felt that because this year was taken from us by Covid... Imagine, for six months from March to September, that we didn't meet at all. We stuck strictly to the regulations - we didn't train once in that time, we never met as a group in that time.

"I felt that we were very ill-prepared for the championship. It was a knockout championship and all of the things were stacked against us. We did our best, we were very close. We could have won the game, we didn't win the game.

"I didn't see it as an extension, I saw it as a replacement of a lost year. Other people, in their wisdom, decided differently and I respect that."

Asked what he would say to the Tyrone fans who felt the time was right for a change of management, Harte said:

"That's life. Not everybody thinks the same way. I understand that. People who wanted that change, that's understandable and I'm perfectly happy with that. I hope that they're happy now that the change has happened."

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PJ Browne
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