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Tyrone trio caught Red Handed

By Micheal McGeary

Ulster champions Tyrone have been dealt a triple blow with the news that three key players have been handed a month’s suspension.

The bans imposed by the CCCC arising from the opening National League game with Derry last Saturday night at Celtic Park is the last thing Tyrone needed ahead of tomorrow’s game against Mayo in Healy Park.

Central defensive duo Justin McMahon and Conor Gormley along with key attacker Martin Penrose have been hit with one month bans.

“It’s very disappointing and again we would have to question if the rules have been administered fairly.” said manager Mickey Harte. “If this scrutiny of games is applied across the board I have no problem.

“But my experiences in the past indicates that’s never the case. If we are going to do this then all games have to be looked at in the same way.

“Perhaps that is going to be the case now but we will have to wait and see down the road.”

It’s not the first time Tyrone have suffered from trial by TV with Ryan McMenamin and Tommy McGuigan both gaining suspensions from incidents arising from National League games.

Tyrone are appealing the suspensions and no doubt Red Hands officials will be keeping a close eye on how games elsewhere in the league are scrutinised in the weeks and months ahead.

Ironically the bans come at a time when Harte has hit out strongly at the Allianz League for the county squads being cut to a maximum of 24.

“We intend sitting down and trimming our squad once we have the Mayo game out of the way.

“I don’t agree that counties should have to work off a squad of 24. In my book that’s a big mistake. We should be looking at something like squads of 30.

“There’s a certain inconsistency there that should be addressed.

“You can have 30 for the championship so why should the league be any different.

“It’s very unfair as you have people working with you during the week and yet you have to tell them on match day that they won’t be needed.

“Effectively the decision to reduce the squads to 24 is making second class citizens of these players who are as committed as anyone else in the panel. If everyone is giving the same commitment then they should be afforded the luxury of being part of the squad.

“Working off a squad of 24 players reduces your options.

“All you need is a few injuries or players to go down with flu and before you know it you could be working off a squad of 19 or 20.”

Meanwhile the footballers of St Galls will step up their pursuit of a first All Ireland tomorrow week against Galway and Connacht champions Corofin.

But this weekend the spotlight is firmly fixed on the hurlers who cross swords with St Lachtains in the All Ireland hurling intermediate decider which takes place this evening in Croke Park.

Not so long ago the word was that dual players in the GAA were a dying breed.

But walk into the St Galls club off the Falls Road and you will find they are thriving.

A number of players who will figure in the All Ireland club football semi-final will be in action in Croke Park this evening.

The precocious Conor McGourty is one of the club’s nine dual players bidding for All Ireland glory on two separate fronts.

First up it’s the Kilkenny champions and it’s hard to imagine a more formidable task.

But more than any other club McGourty and his colleagues thrive on defying the odds.

“We’re blessed in that there’s a tremendous family spirit in our club that sets up apart,” he said.

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