Stop carping and just celebrate the arrival of greatness.
That was the message from Tyrone manager Mickey Harte to Clare football supporters critical of Mick O’Dwyer’s appointment as their football manager.
“His record speaks for itself,” said Harte.
“Everywhere he’s gone he has rejuvenated football within that county. He brings a kind of exuberance that nobody else has.
“He’s got an energy about him that belies his years. He’s just so enthusiastic about Gaelic football. He has to be good for whatever county he goes to. Anyone who has him should be happy to have him.”
Despite leading Tyrone to two All-Ireland final successes at minor, U21 and senior level, Harte believes everything he has done pales in comparison to the achievements of O’Dwyer.
“Who else has a record like him? Who’s record in football even goes back that far? He gets players to play for him, he gets people to work together; working with each other for each other. He seems to have this uncanny ability just to energise people. He brings them to a level that maybe no one else could manage to do, he has a kind of charisma that if you could bottle it, you’d make a fortune!
“He will certainly rejuvenate interest in football inside Clare and whoever comes after him will be picking up a better baton. That’s what the man’s about, the energy and enthusiasm he has, always had and still has, defying his chronological age. It’s a credit to him, an inspiration to all of us who are heading for that higher age bracket.”
He’s a football purist, is O’Dwyer, and there are those who would say that his style is now outdated. Not so, says Harte, long considered one of the most innovative tacticians in the game.
“In the last few places he’s been he’s prepared to bring new ideas and new people on board for other elements of preparation for the team.
“He has already moved a little bit on that front and though he still holds dear to his core values of how Gaelic football should be played, he’s not clinging on to the ideas from the era in which he had most of his success as a manager. I think he’s open-minded enough to embrace new thinking but he will lean on other people, new training ideas and so on, create the right environment for the players to deliver the way he wants to deliver.”
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