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27th Sep 2023

Ex Tyrone player on how Mickey Harte will respond to Joe Brolly’s ‘for the money’ criticism

Lee Costello

Mickey Harte

“He’s has plenty of unfair criticism.”

Tyrone legend Brian McGuigan won three All-Irelands under Mickey Harte during his inter-county career, so was shocked to see his old manager take the Derry job.

The whole GAA world was of course shocked by this revelation, and although many are claiming that it’s because of money or too get back at the Tyrone county board, McGuigan believes it’s purely because of Harte’s appetite for competition.

Despite his three All-Ireland triumphs with his native county, many in Tyrone were calling for his head towards the end of his time in charge, believing that he was past his best.

When Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan took over in 2021, they won the county’s fourth All-Ireland straight away, which only added to theory that Harte was holding them back.

“It’s something that I never would have envisaged happening, but on the flip side of that I would say that Mickey wants the best in anything that he does”, McGuigan told SportsJOE.

“The best you can do at inter-county level is win the Sam Maguire, and he was never going to do that with Louth so once the opportunity came for him to compete at the top level at inter-county again, he would have took that job on.

Mickey Harte

“Now I would have been thinking maybe a Donegal, or a Dublin, or somebody along those lines, I never would have thought Derry – but knowing Mickey well over these past 20 years, and I know he’s a Tyrone man, so he might not have much love for Derry, but he would take great pleasure in winning an All-Ireland, even if it was with Derry.

“He has promised himself that he will win an All-Ireland, and it probably did hurt him that he did a lot of groundwork in the 2021 win, because the year he left they went on to win it.

“In his head he would be saying to himself ‘I would have won that too’, so that has bound to be hurting him, and it’s probably what is driving him on with the Derry job.”

Derry legend Joe Brolly is among those who claim that Harte is only in this for greed and money, as he wrote in his weekly column that this appointment was the worst thing to happen since “the plantation.”

However, the Ardboe native played under the new Oakleaf boss for two decades between underage and football, and doesn’t believe that’s what is motivating him.

“He’s just a pure competitor. I honestly believe that if a Donegal, Mayo, or if Dessie Farrell walked away from Dublin and they came knocking on his door, he would have took it.

“He wants to be sitting at the top table. The fact is that maybe Derry is the last opportunity he will ever have, and it would pain me to see him win an All-Ireland with them, but he will be doing his best to do so.

“All of the outside noises that you hear from Joe Brolly won’t faze him one bit. He’s has plenty of unfair criticism in his county in Tyrone and he never let it affect him once, so I don’t think a Joe Brolly or someone is going to affect him too much.”

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