Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Ulster GAA stars set to be in demand

Ronan Clarke

A number of the leading footballers in the country may find that they will be asked to do the impossible before this month is out - and that is to be in two places at one and the same time.

With the International Rules series, the inter-provincial championship and ongoing domestic championships taking place, the elite players will find themselves very much in demand.

And it’s a safe bet to assume that some members of the Tyrone All-Ireland winning squad will find themselves particularly busy.

The Tyrone internal championship had obviously to be put on the back burner because of the team’s ongoing All-Ireland odyssey and now it’s very much a case of making up for lost time within the O’Neill county.

Meanwhile, new Ulster manager Joe Kernan will certainly covet several Red Hands players for his Ulster team to meet Munster in the inter-provincial semi-final on Saturday, October 25 in Dungarvan.

Kernan has already conducted trial games but is obviously anxious to mark his debut season in charge by landing the inter-pro title — something his predecessor Brian McEniff did on no fewer than 14 occasions.

This being the case, the inclusion of some of Tyrone’s big guns would certainly help Kernan’s cause.

But International Rules manager Sean Boylan, having already named Sean Cavanagh as his captain for the two Tests against Australia, has already intimated that he expects more Tyrone players to be travelling Down Under.

Boylan, currently stepping up his preparations for the trip to Australia, is known to relish a strong Ulster flavour to his squad and it is expected that a further in

sight will be provided on this at a Press Conference in Dublin.

Anthony Tohill, who is part of the International Rules series management team, has been maintaining a watching brief on the Ulster players in particular whom Boylan would like to see included in this squad. Ireland are due to meet the Aussies on Friday, October 24 and again on Friday, October 31.

The fact that the trip Down Under clashes with the inter-pro series means that provincial team managers may have to do without some key players. In addition to the on the field action, the Tennent’s Ulster GAA Writers annual awards banquet is due to take place in the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan on Saturday, November 1.

Obviously, several high-profile players are now likely to miss this function because of their ongoing commitments.

With the Ulster Club Championship due to get under way on Sunday week with the meeting of Down champions Mayobridge and Antrim kingpins St Galls, the push will be on to have the Tyrone championship in particular completed as soon as possible.

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