Star man McGinley 'has not quit' Tyrone
Enda McGinley will resume playing with Tyrone once his concerns over form and fitness are behind him, says Tyrone's assistant manager Tony Donnelly.
McGinley was at the centre of speculation that he had quit the Tyrone squad for good, but Donnelly said he and manager Mickey Harte were "baffled" by that news.
"As far as we are concerned, Enda is taking a temporary break and will be back to us once his concerns are cleared up," said Donnelly. "He won't play through the remainder of the league but he'll be back for the championship.
"It was originally intended that Enda would miss the McKenna Cup but he tried to play his way back into form."
McGinley hit a rich vein of form in 2008 as Tyrone swept to a third All-Ireland title and his consistency was rewarded with an All Star.
But since then he has struggled for form and has made only fleeting appearances in the Tyrone engine room this season as Aidan Cassidy's star soars.
"The way we left it on Tuesday night was that Enda would take a break. We'd be happy for a player to do that at this stage of the season," said Donnelly.
Harte has released players like this in the past, most notably Peter Canavan in early 2005, who was originally thought to have retired but was rested before returning for he championship where he played such a key role.
Meanwhile, Stephen O'Neill is still at least one more weekend away from making his return from the elbow injury he sustained in the McKenna Cup final against Donegal that ruled him out for the opening four league games.
O'Neill may make the bench for the home match against Kerry tomorrow week, according to Donnelly. Brian Dooher is also due to make his club comeback this weekend with Clanna Gael after groin and back injuries.
"It's his back that is really holding him up now," said Donnelly. "He has pain in his lower back which has been slow to respond."
Donnelly shares Harte's recent confidence that they can play their way out of trouble at the bottom of Division 1.
"We feel we are in a good state despite the results," he said. "We've been happy with some of the performances, even though we didn't take the points."