Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Harte steps up a major trawl for fresh talent

Tyrone manager Micky Harte has already been offered a few encouraging pointers as he settles down to the business of mapping out his blueprint for 2008.

Harte, who has already been confirmed as manager until 2010, has conducted a preliminary trawl of talent as he prepares to augment his squad.

And in the Tyrone Championship semi-finals he was provided with considerable food for thought.

Colm McCullagh, who turned his back on a career in the Irish League with Newry City to concentrate on gaelic football, followed up his impressive sojourn in the Tyrone side this summer by grabbing 1-6 in Dromore's victory over Cookstown.

And when Coalisland beat Dunaghmore in the second semi-final, Paddy McNiece took a leaf straight out of the Peter Canavan manual when he hoisted over seven points, six from frees, in his team's 0-14 to 0-11 victory.

Not to be outdone, Dunaghmore's Shane Mulgrew and Niall Maginn scored nine points between them, the former pocketing five in a swish display of finishing.

But it's Coalisland who march into the decider now even more determined to reap the fruits of what has been a hugely successful under-age strategy to date.

Club spokesman Damien O'Hagan says: "A lot of the players in this team have come through well at Minor level and now they are showing their paces in the Senior arena. They have gained in confidence and composure as their Championship run has continued but this final against Dromore will present them with a huge test."

For Micky Harte too, the final will offer a further opportunity to assess new candidates for his squad. Harte remains hopeful that players such as Stephen O'Neill, Colin Holmes, Brian McGuigan and others who were unable to become fully immersed in Tyrone's campaign this year because of injury will be available again when the new season commences.

"For the moment, we must wait and see. Obviously the county final now takes precedence and there will be considerable interest in this given that Dromore have been knocking on the door lately and that Coalisland are already showing themselves to be a rapidly maturing side," said Harte.