Tyrone boost as Harte to be back for Donegal clash
PETER Harte's hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared but he is still expected to miss the Allianz National Football League final against Dublin on April 28.
Harte only lasted 25 minutes of Sunday's semi-final victory over Kildare and it was initially feared he had torn his hamstring, which would have ruled him out for a lengthy period and jeopardised his championship chances this summer.
Manager Mickey Harte said his nephew's injury was "very worrying" but it has been confirmed that he has only strained the muscle, which means he should recover in time for Tyrone's Ulster SFC opener against All-Ireland champions Donegal on May 26.
The versatile Errigal Ciaran player, who has filled key roles at centre-back and centre-forward in the past two seasons, is still expected to miss the upcoming league decider, but Tyrone should have Joe McMahon, who sat out last weekend due to a groin strain, back again.
McMahon was named to start at wing-forward against Kildare but Ronan McNamee was drafted in as a late replacement.
Meanwhile, man of the match from Sunday's game, Stephen O'Neill, insists his accuracy in the closing stages was down to practice more than natural ability.
O'Neill has revealed how manager Harte encouraged him at a young age to practise with his weaker right foot, and it was something he always took on board. Some mild-hearted slagging from his uncle Gerard Browne was also behind his desire to improve a right foot that has served up some spectacular scores in recent years.
The establishment of Garvaghy, the centre of excellence where Tyrone now train, also offers a better environment for such practice, O'Neill revealed.
"Since we got the new centre in Garvaghy you're able to get away up before training, before weights and maybe do a bit of shooting. It's good to have that facility," he said.
"It takes a bit of practice. I did practise it quite hard when I was younger, before training and even during training I'd always switch. Instead of my left foot I'd switch it over and try to pass it with my right foot," he said.
O'Neill says that Tyrone have really seen the benefits of being back in Division 1 for the first time in two seasons.
"It's where you want to be. Especially this year, Division 1, there's a lot of the best teams up there. I know Division 2 is very good but the teams that have won the last few All-Irelands have all been there (Division 1).
"It was good to get up there and test ourselves with that sort of preparation for Donegal."