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26th Oct 2022

Errigal Ciaran’s journey to Tyrone championship final is a story of fathers and sons

Lee Costello

Errigal Ciaran

Apples never fall far from the tree.

Errigal Ciaran are in the Tyrone senior championship final this Sunday, and when you look at the names involved, it’s clear to see that their story is one of fathers and sons.

Of course there are many rich bloodlines in every GAA club, but there is particular royalty in the Errigal Ciaran panel, as two names in particular raise the eyebrows of every Tyronian.

First of all, there is the manager, who just so happens to be the son of the most successful and iconic manager in the county’s history – Mickey Harte.

Errigal CiaranMickey Harte managing his native club along with his star player Peter Canavan.

You may remember his son, Mark, as the sharp shooter who often came off the bench in Tyrone’s two All-Ireland winning seasons in 2003 and 2005.

Although his senior career at inter-county level didn’t have the longevity that many expected, it’s easy to forget just how good Mark was in his playing days.

In fact, with his father at the helm, it was the young Harte who was the key man for Tyrone’s Ulster minor success in 1997, and u21 All-Ireland glory in 2001.

Errigal CiaranMark Harte starring for Tyrone back in 2004.

These are teams that possessed the powers of Stephen O’Neill, Owen Mulligan, Sean Cavanagh, Brian McGuigan, and many other future All-Stars, but it was Mark Harte who was the main man.

So with a handsome playing career tidied up, it must have been a daunting challenge to follow in his father’s footsteps and take on the role as a manager.

Mickey of course managed Errigal Ciaran before taking the county job, and in 2002 guided them all the way to Tyrone and Ulster glory, helped of course by their not so secret weapon, Peter Canavan.

Errigal Ciaran

Speaking of which, ‘Peter the Great’ happens to have two sons on this current panel, Darragh and Ruairi, both of which are in frightening form going into Sunday’s game.

There was a wonderful moment against Dungannon Clarkes in the quarter-finals when Darragh Canavan put the burners on and flew by three defenders, before serving the ball on a plate for his younger brother Ruairi Canavan to bury home – a goal no doubt orchestrated many times before in the back garden

Errigal CiaranManager Marke Harte giving Darragh Canavan pre-game instructions.

Darragh is only 21 but already has an All-Ireland medal in his back pocket, playing a key role in Tyrone’s 2021 success, while Ruairi is only 19 years old, but was the main man in his county’s u20 All-Ireland victory last summer.

Once you throw in the nephews and cousins like club captain Tommy Canavan and All-Star Peter Harte, then you really start to see the fruits of two famous bloodlines in the Red Hand county.

Errigal CiaranRuairi Canavan celebrating his score against Coalisland.

Of course, family heritage doesn’t win you any trophies, and they play a Carrickmore side who have been merciless and relentless in their quest for championship glory.

With players like Martin Penrose still doing the business for them up front, and a plethora of young talent bursting through, this is not a game that you want to miss.

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