Tyrone trio battle back to regain places
Aidan Cassidy, Enda McGinley and Damien McCaul are three Tyrone players anxious to make up for lost time when the action in the Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup competition gets under way next month.
Injuries restricted the input of all three this year to such an extent that they had become almost forgotten in the eyes of Red Hands followers.
But now manager Mickey Harte has handed a vote of confidence to the players by naming them in his preliminary panel.
“Obviously they have been out of top-flight action for some time and will need to get game time under their belts,” said Harte.
“But I have no doubt that they will all respond positively. We want to try and hit the ground running. We have a tough opening match in the McKenna Cup against Donegal in Omagh and this will be just a foretaste of what is to come.”
Having included the vast majority of his trusted foot soldiers, Harte has made a clear declaration of intent that a third Ulster Championship is his priority.
But he is also keen to see Tyrone regain their place in Division One of the National Football League.
“Even when we were in Division One this year, I kept looking at Division Two and thinking that there was not a great difference between the two sections. Now that we ourselves are actually in Division Two we will find that out for ourselves.
“We have some very tough matches ahead of us and I feel that the better start we make to the season, then the more chance we might have of getting ourselves out of Division Two,” reasons Harte.
The return of Cassidy will bolster Harte’s midfield options, McGinley’s versatility will undoubtedly be a decided asset and McCaul’s defensive experience could prove more than useful as the season progresses.
Tyrone lost to Dublin in the All Ireland quarter-finals this year on a day when their shooting was uncharacteristically wayward but Harte is playing it cool in relation to capturing ‘Sam’ once again next year.