Famed Tyrone manager and GAA sporting legend, Mickey Harte, has retired from the helm of the county’s senior football team after 18 years as manager and 30 years involvement with the Red Hand.
Mr Harte is revered for steering the Tyrone team to All-Ireland glory but also widely admired for his courage in the face of the unspeakable loss of his much-loved daughter Michaela who was murdered on her honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.
A man of deep faith, the Tyrone manager’s thoughts on life are being posted across social media and being saluted by tens of thousands liking and sharing his grace and courage. His words, from an interview with the Irish Examiner, resonated deeply with people.
“I feel blessed that I had that capacity to live a quiet life outside of football and I do. I thank God every morning for the gifts in my life that I have. Because there is no getting away from it, I have been blessed with the family I have been born into. The brothers and sisters I had, the mother and father I had. I was so lucky to have them. And the wife, Marian, that I found.
He said he “just adored” his daughter with whom he had a special bond.
“Our children, I am not just blessed, I think they are great young people. Michaela is the same. I just adored her. And we had her for 27 years and it was just so good. She loved me and I loved her in a very special way and even though she wasn’t into playing football or anything like that, it made her so happy and she took so much joy in it.”
“Michaela was a real lovely people person and she would enjoy even meeting stewards at matches because she would soon let them know who she was and end up real friendly with them. Occasionally there are challenges and that is a huge challenge in anyone’s life to have to experience. But I still am able to say that I have been given more than I have lost. That’s the point of it.”
“Even now, nine grandchildren, it’s such a gift since Michaela died we have had nine grandchildren. God’s never indebted to us. I am just so blessed. I feel that the grace of God has been given to me along with the challenges, I have been given the grace to deal with it. I kind of put that down to Michaela as well. That she was so close to me at night times, and I feel she is still close to me. This is not a thing you can describe, it’s not something tangible, but it’s an innate feeling I have that we are not apart. We are together still.”