Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is hoping that Brian McGuigan can replicate the creative flair and subtle artistry that underscored his massive contributions to the county’s 2003 and ‘05 All Ireland triumphs when he returns to the biggest stage of all on Sunday.
McGuigan, who earlier this year made his return to competitive action following a double fracture of his leg and a serious eye injury, has been handed a key role in attack against three-in-a-row seeking Kerry in what is being billed as the match of the decade.
And while McGuigan has been detailed to orchestrate Tyrone’s attacking strategy, Harte is still keeping his options open in relation to the possible deployment of Stephen O’Neill during the course of the game.
O’Neill returned to the Tyrone squad just recently, having intimated earlier in the year that he had stepped down from inter-county action, but has not played a competitive match as yet.
And even though he is not listed in the 30-man squad which has been put into the public domain, there is no doubt that Harte will have the Clan na gael clubman in a state of readiness should the occasion demand his undoubted skills.
Harte, a master of mind games, particularly when the Sam Maguire Cup is on offer, is preparing for a sharp tactical battle with his Kerry counterpart Pat O’Shea who has resisted the temptation to include Paul Galvin in his starting line-up.
Galvin is back following his three-month suspension imposed for knocking referee Paddy Russell’s notebook from his hands, but must be content with a place on the bench.
But Dara O Se and Padraig Reidy, as predicted, return to the Kingdom side with Tommy Griffen and Michael Quirke losing out. There is no doubt, though, that both managers will avail of the huge reservoir of talent they possess on their respective benches.
TYRONE: J Devine; R McMenamin, Justin McMahon, C Gourley; D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan; C Holmes, E McGinley; B Dooher, B McGuigan, J McMahon; T McGuigan, S Cavanagh, C McCullagh.
KERRY: D Murphy; M O Se, T O’Sullivan, P Reidy; T O Se, A O’Mahony, K Young; D O Se, S Scanlon; B Sheehan, D O’Sullivan, E Brosnan; C Cooper, K Donaghy, T Walsh.