Tyrone look very formidable for Championship opener

Frank Roche

MICKEY HARTE has rolled out the heavy hitters for Tyrone's opening defence of their Ulster SFC crown on Sunday.

Team skipper Brian Dooher (embarking on his 15th championship campaign) and Stephen O'Neill have both been included in the attack to face Antrim at Casement Park, even though neither player featured during the National Football League.

Dooher, 34, hasn't played since last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork, while former Footballer of the Year O'Neill dislocated his elbow during the McKenna Cup last January.

Harte has included one SFC debutant, corner-back Martin Swift, while Justin McMahon returns from injury at full-back and Ryan McMenamin switches to No 6 in the injury-enforced absence of Conor Gormley. The Tyrone boss has named Colm Cavanagh at midfield with his older brother Seán on the '40'. Brendan Herron has shaken off injury to take his place in the Antrim midfield, but there's no place in attack for St Gall's star CJ McGourty while his club-mate Andy McClean has failed to recover from a virus.

Meanwhile, Michael Magill has been dropped from the Saffrons' panel for an unspecified breach of discipline.

"Unfortunately for Antrim, Michael was in breach of the code of conduct last weekend," explained manager Liam Bradley, who declined to elaborate other than to say: "The Antrim panel has a code of conduct. There has been no disagreement as such. I'm not going to speak about individuals. I've got more than enough on my plate this week without getting involved in that kind of thing."

ANTRIM (SF v Tyrone): J Finucane; C Brady, A Douglas, K O'Boyle; T Scullion, J Crozier, S Kelly; A Gallagher, B Herron; T O'Neill, K Niblock, J Loughrey; P Cunningham, M McCann, T McCann.

TYRONE (SF): P McConnell; M Swift, Justin McMahon, D Carlin; D Harte, R McMenamin, P Jordan; K Hughes, C Cavanagh; B Dooher, S Cavanagh, Joe McMahon; M Penrose, S O'Neill, O Mulligan.

OFFALY (SF v Meath): A Mulhall; B Darby, S Brady, P Sullivan; S Sullivan, R Dalton, K Slattery; C McManus, J Coughlan; N Darby, B Connor, S Ryan; K Casey, J Reynolds, N McNamee.

CLARE (SF v Waterford): J Hayes; M Tubridy, B Duggan, B Carrig; M McMahon, G Kelly, D Callinan; G Quinlan, G Brennan; M O'Shea, P O'Dwyer, A Clohessy; D Tubridy, D Russell, D Daly.

WATERFORD (SF): T Wall; M O'Gorman,T O'Gorman, K Connery; T Grey, S Briggs, E Walsh; M Ahearne, T Prendergast; B Wall, C McGrath, W Hennessy; P Hurney, G Hurney, L Ó Lionáin.

CARLOW (SH v Laois): F Foley; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, D Shaw; E Coady, J Rogers, D Byrne; J Hickey, E Nolan; D Roberts, M Brennan, C Doyle; A Gaule, E Byrne, D Murphy.

WESTMEATH (SH v Down): B McLoughlin; A Price, P Greville, J Shaw; B Leharte, A Mitchell, D McCormack; S Bardon, E Loughlin; J Clarke, B Murtagh, E Price; K Brazil, P Gilsenan, A Dermody.

WATERFORD (JF v Clare): D Mulhearne; J Moore, M Supple, M Crotty; T Houlihan, D Hickey, M Prendergast; S Dempsey, C Guiry; E Hogan, C Power, N Walsh; J Wall, E Walsh, J Veale.

WESTMEATH (MF v Longford): D Brady; S Gilmore, R Henshaw, C McKinley; D Lynch, D Gavin, J Gonoud; D McNicholas, J Heslin; D Ruane, K Reilly, D McCormack; D Fagan, T English, J Cully.