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Tyrone veteran Joe McMahon beats injury woes in pursuit of club glory

By John Campbell

Just 57 minutes of inter-county championship action hardly hints at a demanding summer schedule.

Yet it provides Tyrone veteran Joe McMahon with a huge incentive to sample success in a rather different arena.

A succession of injuries deprived the vastly experienced double All-Ireland winner of the chance of participating in the Red Hands' abortive bid to win the Ulster Championship and it was not until they encountered Louth in the qualifiers that he returned to underline his immense value to Mickey Harte's line-up in a handsome victory.

But an injury sustained in that game ruled out his involvement in the subsequent defeat to Armagh.

A groin problem put him out of the Allianz League and then a calf injury jettisoned his participation in the Ulster Championship.

Now, though, the 31-year-old is targeting a measure of compensation with his club Omagh St Enda's who have reached the Tyrone Championship semi-finals in which they meet Dromore at the end of this month in a match which has triggered unprecedented interest within the county.

The high ratio of county stars who will be in action, Dromore's bid to land what would be their fourth title in eight years and a perception that the current St Enda's revival could yet climax in a county title triumph combine to give the game the kind of allure that would do justice to a major inter-county fixture.

McMahon is one of six players from this year's Red Hands panel that will be in action in the contest, the others being his brother Justin, Ronan O'Neill, Barry Tierney, Conan Grugan and Hugh Gallagher.

A cruciate ligament injury will keep the imposing Conor Clarke out of the game, though, meaning that McMahon could have a key role in the middle third of the pitch.

St Enda's beat Eglish by 3-8 to 0-8 in the quarter-finals, a win which has fuelled confidence for their confrontation with a Dromore side that benefits from the inspiring example of two 36-year-olds, Ryan McMenamin and Colm McCullagh.

"Any side that comes back from seven points down against a team like Clonoe who are the reigning champions to win the game deserves the highest respect and that's what we will be according Dromore," points out a cautious McMahon.

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