FOUR players who have shared in Tyrone’s catalogue of success under Mickey Harte since 2003 find themselves embarking on vitally important individual missions this weekend — and for one in particular, his manoeuvres will keep him behind ‘enemy’ lines.
Colin Holmes will be the odd man out when he joins current Orchard County ace Charlie Vernon in an Armagh Harps side that will confront Clan na nGael (Lurgan) in tomorrow night’s championship semi-final at the Athletic Grounds (7.00pm).
The tantalising prospect of an all-city Harps v Pearse Og final now looms on the horizon following the Ogs dismissal of long-time champions Crossmaglen from the title race.
While Holmes bolsters the Harps midfield, his erstwhile Red Hands engine-room partner Conor Gormley will be at the hub of the Carrickmore side that will meet Trillick at Healy Park, Tyrone tonight (8.45pm) in an attractive Tyrone championship contest.
Gormley’s versatility — he has played at midfield, full-back and wing-back for his county — continues to cement Carrickmore’s pedigree as a championship force and his vast experience and craft could see the Carmen outfit dispose of Trillick.
Tomorrow night, Brian McGuigan hopes to make up for some lost time when he props up Ardboe’s challenge against Omagh at Pomeroy (6.00pm) in another intriguing Tyrone championship tie.
McGuigan, regarded as one of the most complete footballers in the province, found himself fulfilling cameo roles for Tyrone against Kildare and Cork last month but hopes to have a more pronounced influence against an Omagh side that will be powered by the talented McMahon brothers Joe and Justin.
And on Sunday night it will be the turn of Tyrone’s iconic defender Ryan McMenamin to give a lead when Dromore resume their search for a second title in three years against Errigal Ciaran at Carrickmore (6.00pm).
McMenamin will have his county colleagues Shaun O’Neill, Sean O’Neill and Colm McCullagh at his side to cope with an Errigal outfit which boasts the considerable combined talents of John Devine, Davy Harte and Enda McGinley.
Meanwhile, Down captain Dan Gordon will be at the helm of the Loughinisland side when they meet Clonduff in tonight’s senior county football championship semi-final at Pairc Esler, Newry (8.30pm). It was thought initially that Gordon might be out for the rest of the year after incurring an injury during the summer.