O’Neill back to skipper Tyrone in showdown
Tyrone captain Stephen O’Neill and utility player Peter Harte return for Sunday’s massive Ulster Championship quarter-final clash against Donegal at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey.
Both players missed the recent Allianz League final defeat to Dublin but O’Neill will now resume the captaincy while Harte has been included in the half-forward line.
Justin McMahon and PJ Quinn, both of whom have been troubled by injuries, have also been given the green light to start against the All-Ireland champions.
The former has been named at right-half-back with Conor Clarke at full-back but the latter may also be required to fulfil a midfield role depending on what course the game takes which means that McMahon could once again man the edge of the square.
There are no places for Dermot Carlin and Aidan Cassidy who have been battling against injuries lately while Paddy McNeice has also been overlooked in attack.
Instead, Martin Penrose and the exciting Connor McAliskey will flank O’Neill in the full-forward line while Mark Donnelly and Matthew Donnelly join Harte in an all-action half-forward line that will shoulder a big burden of responsibility in terms of winning second-phase possession and launching counter attacks.
For goalkeeper Niall Morgan, this will be his first taste of Ulster Championship football in a season in which he has scaled the heights to date not least because of his ability to pilfer points from long-range frees.
The Cavanagh brothers Colm and Sean continue their midfield partnership and will face a huge task given Donegal’s penchant for swamping the middle third.
Donegal boss Jim McGuinness has named the same team that started last year's All-Ireland final win over Mayo.
Tyrone: N Morgan; P J Quinn, C Clarke, C McCarron; Justin McMahon, Joe McMahon, C Gormley; C Cavanagh, S Cavanagh; Matthew Donnelly, P Harte, Mark Donnelly; M Penrose, S O’Neill, C McAliskey.
Donegal: P Durcan; P McGrath, N McGee, E McGee; A Thompson, K Lacey, F McGlynn; N Gallagher, R Kavanagh; M McHugh, L McLoone, R Bradley; P McBrearty, M Murphy, C McFadden.