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In Brief: Tyrone's training schedule forced McGuigan to call time

TYRONE playmaker Brian McGuigan (pictured) had not originally contemplated retirement from inter-county football -- but decided to quit because he couldn't give the commitment required by manager Mickey Harte.

"I wasn't actually going to say I was retiring. My wife is due to give birth again in March -- that will be our second child -- and I couldn't commit before that," McGuigan has now revealed.

"When March comes, I said if I felt fit enough to go back I would, but Mickey was saying we'll be training hard in the winter time and he didn't want me to miss that. He said if I came back in March time, well, obviously they'd be doing something wrong if I was fit enough to come back in at that stage. I suppose that made up my mind."

However, while he was disappointed and slightly surprised when the 31-year-old called it a day, Harte hasn't closed the door completely on a potential U-turn.

"The big 'R' word doesn't rest well with a lot of people and I don't think it rests well with Brian McGuigan either. It's out there at the minute, and sure we'll see what happens as the year goes on," the Tyrone boss said, adding that he fully expects Ryan McMenamin to remain an "essential" part of his squad next year.



ó hAilpín can succeed: Sheedy

KEVIN SHEEDY believes Setanta ó hAilpín can give Greater Western Sydney "something different" after the legendary and oft-controversial AFL coach resurrected the Corkman's Aussie Rules career.

"We are thrilled to have got Setanta,'" the GWS supremo enthused. "He's an experienced AFL player and he's going to form a very exciting partnership with Israel Folau.

"Setanta with his hurling background, and Israel with his rugby league background, are giving us something new and different."

Sheedy, a four-time Premiership coach with Essendon, admitted his surprise that Carlton had delisted ó hAilpín.

He also made joking reference to his fractious relationship with Ireland, spawned when he coached the Aussies during that infamous International Rules Test match in Croke Park five years ago, when he quipped: "I''m celebrating that we recruited him ... the Irish can all have a drink on me tonight."

Elsewhere Down Under, the Carlton Blues have downplayed reports linking them with offering two-year contracts to Dublin underage star Ciarán Kilkenny and Louth starlet Ciarán Byrne.

"Club coaches travelled to Ireland recently and held a training camp for about 20 youngsters," a spokesperson confirmed. "At this stage, the club has not made any offers to any of the players."



Murphy rubbishes Lily rumours

CARLOW'S midfield talisman, Brendan Murphy (pictured), has rubbished rumours that he is set to transfer to a Kildare club.

Speculation has gradually built up in recent weeks that the International Rules player might make the move. But the Rathvilly man, who is now stationed in Kildare due to his work in the army, has insisted this is not the case, telling the Carlow Nationalist: "No. It is not true."

Carlow county board chairman Michael Meaney also confirmed that an inter-county transfer has not been received. "I have heard a lot of speculation for many years about Brendan moving to different counties but he hasn't moved yet so I can't see him moving now," said Meaney.

Murphy is the latest high-high profile footballer linked with a possible move to Kildare, with speculation intensifying this week that recently dropped Cavan forward Seanie Johnston could be about to head south to the Lilywhites.



Mayo's Moran back for league

MAYO expect Andy Moran to be back playing early next year as the All Star forward continues to make an "excellent" recovery from a broken leg.Moran missed out on the International Rules tour to Australia after suffering the injury during an Irish squad trial last September. His county boss James Horan explained: "His leg was put in a cast but he didn't need to have an operation, and we'd be hopeful that he'll be back for the latter stages of the FBD League in January."

ARMAGH native Mattie Lennon has been appointed as new Monaghan senior hurling manager for a three-year term, with a review after two.


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