Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Ulster U21 Championship: Heavy load may take toll on Tyrone

Tyrone manager Raymond Munroe acknowledges that his team’s recent demanding itinerary could yet exact its toll as they prepare to face Cavan in tonight’s Ulster Under 21 football championship final at Brewster Park, Enniskillen (8.00).

The Red Hands faced Down on three occasions before getting the better of the Mourne side at the quarter-final stage, and were then pushed all the way by Monaghan in last week’s semi-final.

As he prepares to oversee his team’s assignment against a Cavan side that beat Fermanagh and Donegal to book their place in the decider Munroe is adopting a cautious approach.

“We have played a heavy programme of matches lately and obviously that could prove a factor against Cavan. But there is a great spirit within this Tyrone squad and we would really love to get our hands on the Ulster title,” says Carrickmore man Munroe who formerly played at senior level for his county.

He will again look to his full-forward line of Ronan O’Neill, Kyle Coney and Matthew Donnelly to provide the finishing skills that could take Tyrone to the provincial crown.

Niall McKenna will be a key cog at midfield while Ryan Pickering and Richard Donnelly will also be entrusted with important roles.

Peter Harte, who by now has amassed considerable experience at senior level, can help galvanise the Red Hands while Paddy McNeice is a quality forward who has shown himself to be well capable of taking scores.

Cavan commenced the competition as outsiders but their fine win over Fermanagh was dwarfed by their excellent display against a fancied Donegal side at the semi-final stage.

It was in this match that players such as Gearoid McKiernan, Niall McDermott and Oisin Minagh stepped up to the plate in style in their 0-13 to 1-4 win.

Tyrone last won the Ulster U21 crown five years ago when Justin McMahon was captain while Cavan will be seeking their third title at this level.

Ironically, Cavan will feel very much at home in Brewster Park for tonight’s game as this will be their third outing there in the current competition.

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