Mickey Harte looks to famous Tyrone lineage
Published 30/12/2013 | 13:30
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte looks certain to give a vote of confidence to the sons of two Red Hands legends as he ponders the strategy which he hopes will prove the catalyst for a seventh triumph in the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup competition under his baton.
He may have included nine new faces in all in his restructured squad, but it's odds-on that the names of Niall McKenna and Shay McGuigan will feature strongly on the Tyrone team sheet from next Sunday.
Harte's men will open their campaign against Donegal at Letterkenny in what is the plum tie of the first round overall
McGuigan is set to become the FIFTH member of his family to represent the O'Neill county, his father Frank Snr having created a dynasty that has since seen his sons Brian, Tommy and Frank Jnr adorn the red and white jersey.
Now, the promising 21-year-old Shay, who has been in outstanding form for his club Ardboe this year, is ready to take the big step-up and could well find himself in the role of playmaker so capably by filled for several years by his triple All-Ireland winning brother Brian.
While the McGuigan surname will again be highlighted, Niall McKenna hopes to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious father Eugene, who was outstanding in the county's colours during the 1980s before becoming joint manager in tandem with Art McRory.
Niall, a strongly-built midfielder, looks set to get the chance to establish himself in the team, although with the Cavanagh brothers Sean and Colm likely to come into the midfield reckoning again for the league, he faces a difficult assignment.
Nonetheless, he has shown the kind of form with his club that persuades manager Harte he deserves the opportunity.
Harte, though, will take his now customary pragmatic approach to a competition which he has never treated with anything other than the utmost seriousness.
"As a manager you want to win every game in which your team is involved and that's as it should be," insists the Tyrone boss. "A number of new players will be given their chance in the McKenna Cup this time round and we will monitor them and see how they go."
Eskra captain Peter Hughes will also get the chance to impress in the county colours, as will Patrick Quinn, the first Dungannon Clarkes club player to be chosen for the squad since Gerard Cavlan.
Meanwhile, former Derry All-Ireland winner Enda Gormley looks set to become the new manager of Galbally to replace John Feeney.