By Michael McMullan
SPECULATION is mounting that former Tyrone and Louth manager Mickey Harte is set to be named as the new Derry senior football manager.
Harte stepped down as Louth boss on Monday night and is tipped to fill the vacancy with Ulster champions Derry.
Louth GAA issued the following statement:
“Following a meeting of the Louth GAA Management Committee tonight (Monday 18th September) Chairperson Peter Fitzpatrick informed members of the committee that Senior Team Manager Micky Harte informed him that he and Senior Team Coach Gavin Devlin will be standing down from their roles with Louth GAA with immediate effect, and taking over with Derry Senior Footballers.
In a statement, sent to Gaelic Life, Derry GAA have confirmed a meeting for Tuesday night to provide an update to the process to replace Ciarán Meenagh.
“Derry GAA will hold a meeting of its county committee tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at which an update to the managerial process will be provided,” it read.
After little news emerging on the managerial front since Derry’s exit at the hands of Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final, it has been a busy week in the appointment process.
Last Monday Meenagh confirmed that he didn’t wish to be considered for the vacancy and Derry GAA confirmed on Tuesday that Rory Gallagher wasn’t being considered for a return.
Meenagh led the Oakleafers for the latter end of the 2023 following the departure of Rory Gallagher in the days after the Ulster final defeat to Armagh.
If Harte, as expected, is ratified on Tuesday night he’ll take charge of Derry in Division One and will be defending the Anglo Celt Cup for the second successive season.
Harte’s Louth team came close to upsetting Derry’s promotion push last season on a tough afternoon in Ardee when Niall Toner’s goal helped swing the game back in Derry’s favour.
Gavin Devlin coached Newbridge, Ballinascreen and Sleacht Néill in Derry, the latter to championship glory in 2020 under manager Paul Bradley.
Devlin is currently in charge of his native Ardboe where Chrissy McKaigue is part of his management team.
Indeed, it was Derry that Mickey Harte began his Ulster Senior Football Championship career as manager in 2003.
The sides drew at Clones before Tyrone won the replay on the way to winning the county’s first All-Ireland.