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Mickey Harte steps down as Tyrone boss after 18 years

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte

Sean McGoldrick

Mickey Harte has stepped down as Tyrone GAA manager after a record 18 years in the job.

He guided Tyrone to their first ever All-Ireland senior win in 2003 and the team won the Sam Maguire on two other occasions in 2005 and 2008.

Under his tenure Tyrone also won six Ulster titles, Division 1 and Division 2 titles and 12 McKenna Cups. Prior to taking the senior job he also managed Tyrone to win an All-Ireland minor crown and two All-Ireland U-21 titles.

Since 2008 Tyrone have performed consistently well in the championship but only contested one more All-Ireland final (2018) when they were comprehensively beaten by Dublin.

He was by far the longest-serving inter-county football manager but had come under increasing pressure in recent years. His critics felt that the style of football his team played was not conducive to winning national honours anymore.

The final straw was Tyrone’s defeat by Donegal in the first round of this year’s Ulster championship. There had been speculation in recent days that the Tyrone County Board had turned down his request for a further one year in charge.

He confirmed to the squad last night that he was stepping down and gave these comments on his exit.

"I respect the outcome of these meetings and that’s it’s time to reflect on what happened and leave the present to unfold itself," said Harte.

"I always say that I feel privileged ever to have been a manager of any Tyrone team. To get through the minors, the under-21s and seniors for so long is an absolute privilege and I would never look at it in any other way

"That’s how I leave things, I am privileged to have been given the opportunities I have been given and I did my best every year I was there.

Former All-Ireland winning U-21 manager Fergal Logan is the early front runner to replace Harte.

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