Mickey Harte backing ace Niall Sludden to become a major force for Tyrone
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte believes that 24-year-old Niall Sludden can prove an inspirational player in 2017.
Sludden's elevation to the Red Hands side had to be postponed because he was recovering from a serious leg injury but having regained his form at club level, the Coleraine-based schoolteacher was pitched into the county side by Harte and has not looked back.
Harte was in charge of the TTM All Stars side that beat Dromore in a charity challenge match and afterwards hailed the progress which Sludden has made of late.
"If you look at it, he has shared in the four trophy wins that Tyrone had this year and he then went on to win an inter-pro medal with Ulster. You could hardly ask for more from a player than that," stated Harte.
"He is the kind of player who can lift those around him. He is comfortable in defence as well as going forward and reads the game well.
"You would have to say that he has a great deal to offer and hopefully we will see that in the New Year beginning with our McKenna Cup match on Sunday."
Meanwhile, the draw for the Bank of Ireland Ulster Under-21 Club Tournament has taken place and there are two particularly appetising clashes on the horizon.
Down champions Mayobridge and Armagh title holders Crossmaglen are set to go head-to-head, while Tyrone side Stewartstown and Monaghan champions Donaghmoyne will also do battle in another intriguing tie.
The reigning champions are Watty Grahams from Derry and they will take on Cavan side Ramor United.
The full draw is as follows: Aghagallon (Antrim) v Gaoth Dobhair (Donegal), Crossmaglen (Armagh) v Mayobridge (Down), Donaghmoyne (Monaghan) v Stewartstown (Tyrone), Ramor United (Cavan) v Watty Grahams (Derry).
The competition will once again be hosted by Antrim club Kickhams Creggan.