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Donegal and Tyrone get set for massive showdown

By John Campbell

Donegal boss Jim McGuinness is smoothly articulate, someone who chooses his words well without necessarily divulging too much information.

And this ability to cope with the media could certainly be said to be a pre-requisite for the role of a team manager.

But while McGuinness currently deploys an element of ambiguity as his team prepare to put their Ulster title on the line, Tyrone are doing their talking out on the park in no uncertain manner as the countdown continues to the mammoth Championship tie between the counties on May 26.

Since the first week of January, Tyrone have played 13 competitive fixtures and have lost just twice, their conquerors being Cork and Kerry in the league.

And rather than being wary of showing his full hand to McGuinness in the league final against favourites Dublin on April 28, Tyrone boss Mickey Harte is relishing his team's return to Croke Park where they will hope to land their second trophy of the year.

"We want to be winning games and playing competitive matches," states Harte, with the McKenna Cup already safely tucked away.

"If that affords someone else the opportunity to look at you, well so be it. I think it's a better environment to be in.

"Others will view it differently and say they would rather be out of the limelight. If that suits some people, then that's fine."

Harte confirms that his nephew Peter Harte is unlikely to start against Dublin because of a hamstring problem but remains hopeful that Joe McMahon will return while Aidan Cassidy and Connor McAliskey are pushing for places.

Harte's rhetoric indeed is in rather sharp contrast to the musings of McGuinness as he surveys the debris of a league campaign that culminated in relegation.

McGuinness maintains: "Relegation doesn't make any difference because we don't like the league."

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