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Aidan Cassidy eager to use Augher exploits as a springboard

By John Campbell

In what has proved a less than fruitful year for Tyrone, some of their most experienced players found themselves deployed as substitutes during a championship campaign that fell well short of expectations in particular.

Conor Gormley, Mark Donnelly and Martin Penrose were among those who were offered only limited game time during a truncated itinerary that saw the Red Hands succumb to Monaghan in the provincial semi-final and then fall to Armagh in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

But tonight this much-decorated trio will embark on the honours trail once again when they line out in the Carrickmore team that will face Augher in the county senior football championship semi-final.

Their combined talents underpin a team that many believe can claim the title but an Augher side in which another county panellist is keen to make up for lost time will have their own view on that.

Aidan Cassidy, whose early promise when given his chance at midfield in the county colours by Mickey Harte hinted at a lengthy career at the top level, has been left to lament a series of injuries which has disrupted his involvement with the Red Hands.

Now, like his Carrickmore counterparts, he is anxious not only to see his side create a big impression in the closing stages of the county championship but to provide a reminder that he still has something to offer at the higher level.

Augher may not quite boast the raft of experience which Carrickmore will parade but in Jamie Donnelly they have an accomplished finisher while Aidan McElroy is a full-forward of considerable ability.

Carrickmore, though, look to have the power, physicality and craft to book a place in the final against either Omagh St Enda's or Dromore.

Meanwhile, Colin Walshe, one of Ulster's top defenders, will be missing from the Doohamlet side that will meet Castleblayney Faughs in the Monaghan championship tonight.

Walshe, a key figure in the Monaghan side that won the Ulster title and promotion last year before winning promotion again this year, is currently recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.

He will be a big loss to Doohamlet, who may find the pace and skill of Castleblayney too much.

Magheracloone will face Latton in another attractive Monaghan championship contest with Gavin Doogan holding down a key role for the former side at midfield and Owen Duffy and Kieran Duffy key figures in the Latton line-up.

In the Down championship, Aidan Carr will underpin Clonduff against Ballyholland who will be skippered by former county ace Ronan Murtagh while Carryduff will take on Attical.

And Aghaderg will face a difficult task against Cumann Peadar Naofa, Warrenpoint in which a posse of young players from both teams will get the chance to shine.

Armagh ace Brian Mallon can inspire the Tir na nOg side that will face Sarsfields in the qualifying round of the Orchard County championship while Killeavy will confront Shane O'Neill's.

The meeting of Ballymacnab and Madden will see two sides who have flattered to deceive strive to stride into the limelight.

Belfast Telegraph

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