Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Harte unleashing star men on Kildare

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has been handed a boost in advance of the forthcoming Allianz Football League Division Two final against Kildare.

Martin Penrose and Joe McMahon, both of whom have been out of action because of injuries, are expected to be fit for selection.

And initial fears that Michael Murphy and Justin McMahon could miss the game because of knocks picked up in the facile 1-16 to 1-6 win over Monaghan at the weekend have subsided.

Galbally clubman Murphy has been particularly impressive at midfield for the Red Hands where he has formed an effective partnership with Colm Cavanagh.

Manager Harte is anxious to field his strongest possible side against the Lily Whites as this will be the team’s last competitive match prior to the Ulster championship showdown against Armagh at the Morgan Athletic Grounds on June 10.

“It’s good to be in the league final and this game against Kildare will prepare us further for the championship,” says the Tyrone boss who has a well-known aversion to challenge games of any nature. But although his side have now won 12 competitive matches on the bounce, he still feels that there is scope for further improvement.

Even though his side were the clear masters against Monaghan, Harte believes that they will need to step up to the next level to overcome a Kildare side that many believe can make a major impact in the All-Ireland series this year.

“At times against Monaghan we were very good. In terms of a result it was a very impressive outcome but the performance could have been better,” maintains Harte.

The fact that he used 34 players in the league underlines the depth of talent he has at his disposal and with players like Kyle Coney, Peter Harte, Cathal McCarron, Aidan McRory, Owen Mulligan and of course midfielder Murphy on fire he has every reason for optimism as he prepares to go head to head on the touchline with Kieran McGeeney.

l MARCH proved an unforgettable month for Loughgiel hurler Liam Watson.

His team won the All-Ireland club title for the first time since 1983 and he scored an astonishing 3-7 in the decider against Offaly and Leinster champions Coolderry.

It was a superb tour de force by Watson and came in the wake of the 0-16 he scored against Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) in the semi-final. His scoring feats made him an obvious candidate for the Quinn Direct Ulster GAA Writers Association monthly merit award.

“This is a very special honour for me and I am proud to accept it. But while I was lucky enough to get a few scores our success was all down to a team effort,” he said.

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