Tyrone suffer another blow as Lavery joins exodus
The Tyrone football squad has been hit by another defection with PJ Lavery the latest player to walk away in the wake of the Red Hands' relegation to Division 2 of the Allianz Football League.
The Clonoe man is the fifth Red Hand squad member to quit in the past week, following in the footsteps of Paddy McNeice, Shay McGuigan, Emmet McKenna and Dwayne Quinn.
The other four are understood to have been frustrated by a lack of game time afforded to them during the league, which saw Tyrone win just one game.
But the versatile Lavery, equally comfortable in the half-back or half-forward line, saw significant amounts of action during the Division 1 campaign, playing in all seven games.
He started just once, however. That was in the opening-day defeat to Monaghan at Healy Park. A depleted Tyrone squad will reconvene this week to step up preparations for the Ulster Championship clash with Donegal on May 17.
Joe McMahon and Dermot Carlin returned to the set-up for the crunch clash with Kerry at Healy Park, with the former coming off the bench at half-time for his first league appearance of the season.
Manager Mickey Harte missed the final game against Kerry, when a draw was not enough to rescue the Red Hands from relegation.
Former assistant Tony Donnelly, who stepped down at the end of last season, returned to the set-up due to the enforced absence of the manager, who had days earlier undergone a minor medical procedure.
There is speculation that the Augher clubman may remain involved during the preparations for next month's big Ulster Championship clash with Donegal at MacCumhaill Park.
The big task facing the management now is to lift spirits among a deflated squad ahead of the trip to Ballybofey, where Tyrone face a massive task in trying to end a sequence of defeats at the hands of their Ulster neighbours.