Harte plans ‘hands-on’ Tyrone coaching role

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte says he will have a more "hands-on" role in training his senior football squad next season.

The three-time All-Ireland winning boss last night confirmed he will not be making any further additions to his backroom team following the recruitment of former Red Hand midfielder Peter Donnelly as a strength and conditioning coach.

Speculation linking former All-Ireland winning captain Brian Dooher, or former All-Ireland champions Chris Lawn and Mark Harte with a role on the sideline, following the departure of long-serving duo Tony Donnelly and Fergal McCann, have proved wide of the mark.

“Peter Donnelly is doing strength and conditioning for all of the teams in the county, but he will have a specific brief for the seniors so we will have good access to him,” explained Harte.

“He can fulfil that side of things and myself and Gavin Devlin are going to be more hands-on in training than we have been in the past.

“There is nobody else coming in. That was all speculation from people who didn’t have anything else to talk about.”

Harte confirmed that he is hopeful that Joe McMahon will decide to play on for the Red Hands next year.

The 31-year-old recently cast doubts over his ability to commit in 2015 due to work and family commitments.

He has been one of the stars of Omagh St Enda’s first Tyrone championship title success since 1988 and their shock Ulster championship victory over Crossmaglen last Sunday.

“I’ve been speaking to Joe and I am optimistic enough he will still be with us,” said Harte at last night’s McKenna Cup launch in Belfast.

“His form I’m sure will help him make that decision, he has been an vital part of Omagh’s success and I think he could be as big a part of our success over the coming year as well.”

Since quitting the Tyrone squad in 2009, Peter Donnelly spent several productive years working as a full-time coaching officer in Cavan, helping the Breffni County win Ulster minor and U21 titles.

Harte is delighted with the freshness he has injected to his set-up.

“He’s bringing a real enthusiasm to his work, the players know him and a lot of them played with or against them. We have complete access to him, players can get him at any time of the day so there is a real flexibility in what he has to offer.”

Meanwhile, Derry manager Brian McIver has refused to comment on the possible loss of several Ballinderry players from his Oak Leaf squad, following the proposed suspensions handed out to the club yesterday.

County players Gareth McKinless and Aaron Devlin were hit with 48 week bans in the fallout to the brawl which marred the club’s Derry SFC final defeat to Slaughtneil two weeks ago.

McIver, who managed the club to All-Ireland success in 2002, said: “Those are recommendations and this process will go on so it would be totally wrong for me to make a comment on it.”


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