Red Hand boss Harte eager to rebuild Tyrone's stature
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has issued a clarion call to his depleted squad in advance of Sunday's All-Ireland football qualifier against Limerick.
The triple All-Ireland winning boss is desperately anxious to see the Red Hands reclaim the status they held for so long under his baton and views the visit of the Shannonsiders as the first step in a rehabilitation process following the Ulster Championship preliminary round defeat to Donegal.
In all, six players are reported to have exited the Tyrone squad but while disappointed, Harte is far from reaching for the panic button.
"While I think it is disappointing that players put in a good effort and then walk away, at the end of the day every player has to make up his own mind as to what they want to do," said Harte.
"We have brought in some young blood and that has energised the whole group. There are All-Ireland winning players in there and I think we can go forward with confidence."
A core of seasoned players, including Sean Cavanagh, Aidan McRory, Mattie Donnelly, Colm Cavanagh, Justin McMahon, Peter Harte and Cathal McCarron, will be in the vanguard of Tyrone's bid to become a force again in the All-Ireland series.
Only this week Harte received a boost from an unexpected source as he plots the route ahead.
Former Meath All-Ireland winning boss Sean Boylan, who was at the helm of operations within the county for 23 years during which four All-Ireland titles were claimed, predicted that Tyrone will be in the last eight of the All-Ireland series.
"I will be amazed if Tyrone and Donegal are not both there and I would not be ruling out Monaghan either," stated Boylan.
In the meantime, though, Harte must seek to plug gaps in his side although with Niall Morgan available again and several players chomping at the bit for championship action, his selection options are by no means limited.
Padraig McNulty, Tiernan McCann, Mark Bradley and Ronan O'Neill were introduced against Donegal and are pressing for starting places against Limerick.
Limerick will come to Healy Park fortified by a courageous display against Clare in the Munster Championship. They lost 0-15 to 1-3 but players such as Ian Ryan, Peter Nash, Stephen Cahill and Iain Corbett showed they are capable of posing a threat to Tyrone.