Sunday 18 March 2018

Morgan to miss Derry clash as Harte stays grounded

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan look set to miss Sunday's Ulster Championship quarter-final with Derry as he recovers from a broken bone in his hand sustained last month.

Morgan was expected to resume full training last night but the game looks to have come to soon for him. He may, however, be named among the replacements.

Joe McMahon could be in line to make a surprise return to action.

McMahon has not played for the Red Hands since last year's All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kerry, when he suffered a torn groin muscle while kicking an early point, but it has emerged that he played an in-house game last weekend, and came through with no adverse effects.

Omagh pair Conor Meyler and Conor Clarke look set to miss the quarter-final, but the rest of Tyrone's injury concerns are all expected to be fit.

Meanwhile, Mickey Harte has laughed off suggestions that Tyrone pose the greatest threat to Dublin dominance.

Harte refuses to buy into the consensus that his team is best placed to halt the All-Ireland champions' march to another title and believes it's folly to place such lofty expectations on a team that has been playing its football in Division 2 this season.

"If we had breezed through Division 1 the way we did with Division 2, there would be some substance in pointing us in the direction that some people are suggesting at the minute," he explained.

"It really doesn't matter what anybody says outside of our camp in terms of how we are going to perform this year, because if we are starting to react or respond to whether it's good talk about you or bad talk about you, then you won't deliver the best of yourself.

"So if had we had listened to all the information that was out there last year, we should have curled up and gone home and forgot about football, and we didn't do that.

"If we were to take this on board now, that we are suddenly heading to the pinnacle, then we would be foolish people as well.

"So we'll let it unfold, and we'll see as the season develops who is more accurate, and where our stage of development is at."

Harte insisted it's much too early to be talking about the prospect of a big clash with the All-Ireland champions at Croke Park.

"Dublin's a long way from here, both geographically and in football terms. So it is a bit foolhardy of people to be even speaking about that," he said.

"We all know that Ulster is a minefield, and our Dublin is in Celtic Park. We'll treat Derry the very same way as we would treat Dublin or Kerry or Cork or any of the so-called top teams.

"We have to treat them with the very same respect, and we have to be playing to the top of our game to make sure that we get the result we want. We had a good League campaign, but we always have to put in context, put it in perspective. It was Division 2; it wasn't Division 1."

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