Mickey Harte tonight ended his 18-year reign as Tyrone manager, heralding the end of an era for gaelic football in the county.
The GAA’s longest-serving inter-county football manager informed members of his squad that he was stepping down.
His future was plunged into uncertainty earlier this week when it emerged that his request for a one-year extension to his term has been turned down by the county board.
Harte is the most successful manager Red Hand county has ever had, leading Tyrone to their only three All-Ireland titles, in 2003, ’05 and ’08.
His latest three-year term ended with the Ulster SFC quarter-final defeat to Donegal earlier this month.
One possibility was that the Errigal Ciaran clubman would apply for a three-year term, which would have involved an interview for the position, but he has opted not to do that.
For the first time, it appears that other interested parties are poised to go for the post.
The county board will now invite nominations from clubs for the position of senior manager, ahead of next month’s annual convention.
Harte has led the Red Hands to three All-Ireland titles and six Ulster crowns, but the Sam Maguire Cup has eluded him since his last triumph in 2008.