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Cavanagh, McCann and Brennan return to fire up Tyrone in triple title bid

 

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has certainly landed the first blow in his team's Ulster championship confrontation with Monaghan on Sunday by including Tiarnan McCann, Colm Cavanagh and Lee Brennan, all of whom were considered to be extremely doubtful, in his starting line-up.

The Red Hands side suddenly assumes a much more experienced edge for what is regarded as the plum tie of the championship and Harte's selection will surely give Monaghan boss food for thought.

The inclusion of Colm Cavanagh in particular will surely lift the hopes of Red Hands' supporters given his ability to dovetail between midfield and defence while Tiarnan McCann's lung-bursting forays and Lee Brennan's marksmanship from play and frees will lend a whole new dynamic to the attack.

Tyrone's preparatiosn for the match had been overshadowed to some extent because of the fact that the trio had been throught to be fighting a losing battle against the clock.

With Frank Burns included at centre-half-back, Cathal McShane and Conor Meyler up front and skipper Mattie Donnelly partnering Cavanagh at midfield, Tyrone will now carry an attacking threat that many clearly did not deem possible.

The sudden surge of optimism contrasts sharply with the last occasion when Tyrone last dipped their toe in Championship waters.

That was in last year's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin when a fine goal from Con O'Callaghan in the opening minutes sounded the death knell for the Red Hands.

It's little wonder, then, that as Harte's side prepare to embark on a new campaign, caution is the keynote - particularly as Monaghan will arrive at Healy Park, Omagh fortified by the imposing twin attributes of rampant hunger and towering ambition.

Tyrone: N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, F Burns, P Harte; C Cavanagh, M Donnelly; C McShane, N Sludden, C Meyler; L Brennan, C McAliskey, M Bradley.

Belfast Telegraph

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