Horse is the right man – Brian McGuigan
THE ANNOUNCEMENT last week that Gavin Devlin was joining the Tyrone senior back room team for next season may have come as a bit of a curve-ball to many, but not to those who know the man involved.
I went to primary school with Horse, so I’ve known him since we were five or six. That then progressed to playing football together on underage teams the whole way up through for Ardboe and then with the county.
We formed a kind of an understanding, him at centre-back and me at centre-forward. Most of the time the ball I received was coming from him. It was the same when we played with the county, with me as an outlet and him seeking me out.
In 2003, a lot of my good football owed a lot to Horse’s form. He really was awesome that year, and it showed the faith that Mickey Harte had in him that time because he served a 12 week suspension and came straight back into the team.
Many people questioned Mickey’s judgement in bringing Horse in and giving him such a key role in the team, because they felt that he didn’t have the pace and was too loose for that level of football. But Mickey had taken him through the minors and u-21s, and he knew that his understanding of football was second to none.
It’s not a big surprise that Horse is the one player from the 2003 team that Mickey has turned to. He was always a big favourite of Mickey’s, and Mickey has a lot of faith and trust in him.
Horse quit playing football with Ardboe at about 27, which was very early. He went straight into management and coaching, and took an Ardboe minor team including Kyle Coney, Shay McGuigan and Gavin Teague to win a county championship title. It was a good Ardboe team, but it was Horse who took them over the line and won it for the first time with them.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday September 13. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here