Saturday 24 August 2019

Harte gives youth a chance with three debutants in Red Hand side

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Mickey Harte has delved a little deeper into Tyrone's treasure chest to come up with what he regards as a potent mix of youth - including debutants Michael Cassidy, Ben McDonnell and Brian Kennedy - and experience to confront Derry in Sunday's Ulster championship preliminary-round tie at Healy Park.

The triple All-Ireland-winning boss is prepared to place his faith in a battery of players who helped his county to chart an encouraging Allianz League campaign which culminated in wins over Dublin and Galway.

Richie Donnelly and Kennedy, who have impressed at midfield of late, now get the opportunity to prove their worth on the championship stage while Errigal Ciarán starlet McDonnell, who is maturing into a very capable performer, will help to link the play from centre-back- alongside Cassidy at right half-back.

With the Slaughtneil club expected to provide perhaps one-third of the Derry line-up, Harte is conscious that his side will face a rather better organised, more cohesive Oak Leaf formation than has been the case in recent times.


Meanwhile, Roscommon captain Enda Smith has been omitted from their starting team to play Leitrim in Sunday's remaining Connacht quarter-final. Smith and his brother Donie are absentees on manager Anthony Cunningham's first championship team as three debutants, Hubert Darcy, Conor Cox and Conor Hussey, are named.

Former Kerry player Cox has linked up with Roscommon, his father's native county this year.

Fergal McTague, Conor Reynolds, Pearse Dolan and Evan Sweeney are the four Leitrim championship debutants as manager Terry Hyland makes a number of changes from the team that lost the Division 4 final to Derry.

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Aidan Flynn, Emlyn Mulligan, Dean McGovern and Cillian McGloin lose out as McTague, Dolan, Reynolds and Jack Heslin are introduced.

Shane Horan is one of three Offaly debutants for their Leinster SFC match with Meath in Navan on Sunday. Horan plays his club football with Kilmacud Crokes in Dublin but has declared for Offaly under the parentage rule.

Cathal Mangan and Patrick Dunican will also start championship games for the first time while Niall McNamee is back, having missed last year's championship through retirement.

Tyrone - N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, M McKernan; M Cassidy, B McDonnell, T McCann; R Donnelly, B Kennedy; M Donnelly, N Sludden, F Burns; C McShane, P Harte, C Meyler.

ROSCOMMON - D O'Malley; D Murray, S Mullooly, C Daly; N Daly, C Hussey, R Daly; T O'Rourke, S Killoran; H Darcy, C Cregg, N Kilroy; U Harney, C Cox, D Murtagh

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