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Morgan is facing fight to keep his Tyrone spot

By John Campbell

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan is preparing to fend off a double-pronged challenge for the No.1 shirt as his team target a fifth consecutive Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup triumph.

Morgan, who was in the Ireland team that beat Australia in the International Rules Test last month, is one of three custodians in Mickey Harte's squad, the others being Mickey O'Neill and Sean Fox.

And it's O'Neill in particular who is perhaps doing much to keep Morgan on his toes although he is recovering from an injury at present.

Clonoe clubman O'Neill was drafted into the side for the Ulster Championship opener this year against Donegal when Morgan was ruled out with a groin injury and since then his form at club level has ensured he continues to remain very much in the inter-county picture.

He played in the team's O'Fiaich Cup success earlier this month and along with Fox provides confirmation that the Red Hands are particularly well served in terms of quality goalkeepers.

Morgan, of course, brings extra attributes to the table in that he is a noted free-taker and is often Tyrone's first line of attack because of his pinpoint kick-outs.

Meanwhile, Ronan McNabb will miss the McKenna Cup and the Allianz League but Ronan McNamee is expected to be in contention for a place in defence when the league gets under way, while midfield ace Colm Cavanagh will return to duty shortly.

In Sunday's McKenna Cup opening tie against Queen's at Healy Park, Omagh, Harte is expected to again run the rule over players such as Kieran McGeary, Patrick Quinn, Lee Brennan and Cathal McShane.

Richie Donnelly may also be handed a key role against the students while Connor McAliskey and Ronan O'Neill covet places in the attack.

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