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Tyrone ready to leave past behind

By John Campbell

Tyrone chairman Ciaran McLaughlin has made an impassioned plea for the county to “move forward” following recent adverse publicity.

And McLaughlin’s call has already received huge support, particularly from former players.

Among those anxious to see Tyrone regain its status as one of the leading counties in the country is triple All-Ireland winner Ciaran Gourley who is hoping he can play a part in helping to produce some of the players that might garner further glory for the Red Hands.

As coach to the St Patrick’s Academy side which is through to the quarter-finals of the MacRory Cup and as a current player with The Rock club, Gourley has an overview of the county’s playing resources at various levels.

And he believes that the raw material is there to bring more success.

“Obviously Tyrone has been shown up in a bad light recently but it is not all doom and gloom.

“There are a number of very talented young players coming through at schools, minor and under 21 levels and I believe that they will ultimately help to bring us more silverware,” he predicts.

Having played alongside the recently-retired Brian McGuigan, Brian Dooher, Philip Jordan and Enda McGinley, Gourley is well-placed to know just what it will take for Tyrone to climb to the top again.

“Absolute dedication on the part of the players,” he insists.

“I have a feeling that the county board and manager Mickey Harte will not want to see Tyrone out of the big picture for too long.

“But those players who have retired made massive sacrifices and went through the pain barrier to bring us success.

“People will say that we are about to go though a period of transition and, while there is some truth in that, it is equally clear that there are still a number of experienced players like Conor Gormley, Sean Cavanagh, Owen Mulligan, the McMahon brothers, Pascal McConnell, Martin Penrose, Colm Cavanagh and others who can blend with newer boys like Peter Harte, Sean O’Neill, Kyle Coney and Mark Donnelly to get us back up there.”

Although manager Harte has indicated that he does not believe there will be any more retirements, speculation surrounds the involvement of Ryan McMenamin.

The Dromore clubman is due to get married later this month and has deferred any final decision until the New Year. The feeling is though that he may play for Tyrone for another year.

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