Monday 19 March 2018

McGarrity can lead Tyrone starlets to second minor title in three years

Cork v Tyrone, 1.15, Croke Park
M Duffy (Sligo). Live RTE

Two teams that just never say die meet in the curtain-raiser at Croke Park as Tyrone go looking for a second All-Ireland at this level in three years.

Cork, however, are looking to bridge a 17-year gap to bring home the Tom Markham Cup. The Rebels last won the title back in 1993, on the day the senior side lost to Derry in the main event.

Both sides were tested to their limits in the semi-finals and after 45 minutes of both games, this match-up looked distinctly unlikely.

Tyrone battled back from the dead to overcome Mayo, while Cork did the same to beat Galway on an astonishing 3-15 to 5-8 scoreline.

The Rebels will know that things will be tighter against a much-fancied Tyrone team, who are the bookies' favourites by a long way. But Mayo showed the Ulster champions can be rattled and provided a template of how to get at them.

Led by captain and corner-back Shea McGarrity, Tyrone are a versatile bunch in the mould of Mickey Harte's senior teams. They can inter-link positions fluently, without fuss and at times to devastating effect.

However, they go into tomorrow's clash without goalkeeper Mark Reynolds who's injured and there are doubts over the fitness of Thomas Canavan, while their opponents have a clean bill of health.

The Rebels will need corner-forward Brian Hurley to be on similar scoring form as he was when bagging a crucial injury-time free in the semi-final victory over Galway. But after getting the fright of their lives in that semi-final encounter, it's hard to look past Tyrone on this occasion.

Verdict: Tyrone

CORK (MF v Tyrone) -- D Hanrahan; K Fulignati, M O'Shea, A Cronin (Capt); C O'Sullivan, T Clancy, J Wall; J Burns, D Cahalane; J O'Rourke, M Sugrue, D MacEoin; K Hallissey, T Hegarty, B Hurley.

TYRONE -- C Spiers; S McGarrity (Capt), C Clarke, HP McGeary; N Sludden, M Donaghy, E Deeney; H Og Conlon, C Grugan; R Donnelly, T Canavan, R Devlin; S Tierney, J McCullagh, R O'Neill.

Irish Independent

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