It may have taken 10 huge steps to restore Sam to Red Hand custody for a second time, but Harte’s men won the admiration of fans everywhere (even down in Kerry) for their swashbuckling displays on that long voyage to All-Ireland glory.
After seeing eight of his warriors scoop Allstar awards, Harte must have been a proud man.
But yesterday, in Dublin’s Berkeley Court Hotel, it was the turn of the Errigal Ciarán man to steal the limelight as, before a packed gathering, he was named Philips Manager of the Year for 2005.
Harte beat off some hot contestants for the coveted accolade and a standing ovation bore testimony to his popularity.
Cork hurling boss John Allen had very strong credentials. So too had Cork City soccer boss Damien Richardson, so close to a fabulous double only to be rocked by history making Drogheda United.
On receiving his award from Sports Minister, John O’Donoghue, and Cel O’Reilly, MD Philips Ireland Ltd, Harte was coolness personified.
“I’m both shocked and delighted. I owe this award not just to the great bunch of players I am involved with but to the whole backroom staff, people behind the scenes who never get a look in.
“Looking back on the season, you could say lady luck smiled on us. But you need a rub of the green to win anything and we certainly got it. Hopefully it will be there again next season.
“Last year the defining moment in our season came in the first game against Dublin. We never really enjoyed our football with the whole tragic Cormac McAnallen affair deep on the players minds. But they were strong and determined to win the All-Ireland for him.
“He’s gone to his rest now. Time now to go out and enjoy our football. We’ll be giving it another big go next season.”
: Pat O’Dwyer (Kilmurry-Ibrickane) Gaelic Football team.
: Chris Craig (Tralee Tigers Basketball team).
: Eddie O’Sullivan - Irish Rugby.
: Tom Taaffe (Trainer, Kicking King), Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
: Mick McCarthy (Sunderland FC).
: David Jeffrey (Linfield Soccer).
: John Allen (Cork Hurling)
: Paul Caffrey (Dublin Football).
: Conor Hayes (Galway Hurling).
: Mickey Harte (Tyrone Football).
: Adrian Birrell (Irish Cricket).
: Damien Richardson (Cork City soccer).