As Sundays go, yesterday was certainly different in many ways from any other. Sure there was a football match to attend and a team to support but yesterday’s game was not the only reason so many people turned up at the hastily arranged East Tyrone venue. The large and respectful crowd that assembled quietly in Edendork did so as a sign of solidarity and support for Mickey Harte and his family during these difficult times. The spontaneous round of applause that the Tyrone manager received as he entered the field was as emotional as it was welcoming. Every man, woman and child stood to greet him as the clapping hands of the more than five thousand strong crowd expressed their sympathy, support and appreciation of a man that has been through some very difficult times but one who has given us all so many happy days. It was an emotional day but one that will be remembered for a long time by all who were present. As always Mickey carried himself with huge dignity and afforded time and opportunity to those who wanted a word or two after the game.
Bill Shankly once offered a famous quote on the importance of football and recent events have shown the canny Scot to be very far off the mark. Football is important and as yesterday showed it can be a cathartic and uplifting experience. It was not just another Sunday. It was a first and necessary step on a long and difficult journey for the manager and his family but one where he will find many supportive and appreciative hands along the way.