The Tyrone county board last night turned down Mickey Harte’s request for an extension to his term as senior football manager.
In an unexpected twist, the county executive decided to maintain the status quo. Hartes current two-year term is due to come to an end at the conclusion of next season.
Lst month, he requested a one-year extension to his term, but last night at Garvaghey, officials decided not to add a further season.
This season, he guided Tyrone to a first Ulster SFC title since 2010, ending a losing sequence at the hands of Donegal with a two points victory in the final at Clones.
Tyrone went on an eight-month unbeaten run during 2016, also winning the NFL Division Two title, the Dr McKenna Cup and the O Fiaich Cup.
But that run came to an end at Croke Park, where they lost by a point to Mayo in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Harte is already the longest serving football manager in the country. He took over late in 2002, and led the county to its first All-Ireland title in his debut season, adding further Sam Maguire Cup triumphs in 2005 and 2008.
Sean Cavanagh is the only remaining link with the maiden All-Ireland in 2003, but his future remains uncertain.
Cavanagh has yet to decide whether to commit to the 2017 season, bit has revealed that he is reconsidering his decision that this was to be his last year playing inter-county football.
Harte has been trawling the county in recent weeks for fresh talent to strengthen Tyrone’s challenge next year.
He has attended several club championship matches, and plans to continue the form of a number of prospects, as well as established squad members.
Three of the Tyrone SFC quarter-finals take place this weekend, as well as a first round replay between Omagh and Clonoe.