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Gourley injury shocks Tyrone

By John Campbell

Tyrone have been dealt a blow with the news that experienced defender Ciaran Gourley is likely to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

The three times All Ireland winning defender injured his knee while playing for Rock in a challenge match against Enniskillen Gaels at Brewster Park on Sunday afternoon and it’s feared that he has damaged cruciate ligaments.

Gourley had a similar injury five years ago that curtailed his involvement in Tyrone’s second Sam Maguire triumph that season.

It’s come at a time when he had just started his first game of the season in the defeat to Galway just over a week ago and Red Hands manager Mickey Harte admits that it’s a blow to the player as well as the county.

“I heard about it from the physios on Sunday night and the news doesn’t appear to be good but he will have a scan on it and hopefully it’s not as bad as we fear,” said Harte.

“Ciaran has worked hard to get back into the reckoning and while he played against Galway he needed more game time under his belt and for this to happen now is very disappointing.

“He has been a great servant to Tyrone football for over a decade; a very reliable defender who has been involved in many good days for our county and for this to happen at this stage of his career is very unfortunate.”

One man of the road to recovery after an injury setback is Philip Jordan who has played precisely 35 minutes of top-flight football since Tyrone’s defeat by Cork in last year’s All Ireland semi-final, yet he could still wield a major influence in helping to keep the Red Hands in Division One.

The Moy clubman underwent surgery to remedy a hip joint tear problem in the aftermath of Tyrone’s All Ireland elimination and subsequently immersed himself in a lengthy rehabilitation programme that culminated in his introduction as a half-time substitute against Kerry last Saturday night.

Now Jordan is hoping to sample more action against Dublin at Healy Park on Sunday week where victory is essential if Mickey Harte’s side are to have any chance of cementing their Division One status for another year.

It was in the unusual role of corner-back that Jordan returned to the Red Hands frame at half-time against Kerry and no one was more delighted than him when Moy colleague Colm Cavanagh landed the last-gasp goal that copper-fastened the two points.

“Like myself, Colm has gone under the knife and has faced a lengthy battle to get back to full fit

ness,” said Jordan. “I was very pleased that the manager decided to put me on at half-time against Kerry and now I’m thirsting to face the Dubs.

“They will feel they have a big point to make against us and for our part we want to avoid the drop into Division Two.

“The fact that several players have been out with injuries over the course of the league has not made things easy for Mickey Harte but we are gradually getting back to full strength again.”

He has played just one game for his club in the Ulster League — against Portglenone Casements — but feels that his fitness and stamina levels are “where I want them to be”.

Belfast Telegraph

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