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Harte asks Tyrone's retired stars to ease crisis

By Donnchadh Boyle

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has left the door open for some of his former stars to return to the county fold after Sean Cavanagh became the latest Red Hand attacker to suffer serious injury.

The Moy man picked up a shoulder injury while on club duty, with Harte admitting he was "fearing the worst" about Cavanagh's prospects of playing in the championship this summer.

The 2008 Player of the Year is believed to have suffered a similar injury to the one he sustained in the build-up to the International Rules series last year, when he damaged a tendon in his shoulder that kept him out for close to six months.

And with Cavanagh set to join fellow forwards Kyle Coney, Ronan O'Neill and Tommy McGuigan on the long-term injury list, Harte didn't rule out recalling some old faces.

"You have to look at what's required and whether any of those players have an interest in helping us out. A lot of things have to fit together for that to happen.

"I could not say at this time, but we have to look at all our options. If we need to add some people to the panel we'd certainly look at those options."

Brian Dooher, who has joined Harte's backroom team, and Brian McGuigan are forwards who retired since last year, but Harte may also consider approaching the likes of Enda McGinley, Kevin Hughes and Philip Jordan to add some experience to the increasingly young side that looks set to start against Armagh in the Athletic Grounds on June 10.

"It will test the strength in depth of the squad," the eircom ambassador admitted. "People talk about when you get a few injuries other players can come in, but you're reducing your options all the while.

"Since they're (all forwards), it's going to prove problematic.

"Really good forwards don't grow on trees and it takes a long time to mature them.

"You just have to take that on the chin and there's no county that's immune to injury," said Harte.

"Sometimes it happens in numbers. It reminds me of 2006 when we came back after winning the All-Ireland and we had five or six great players sitting in the stand for the first match when we played Derry in Omagh.

"You just have to deal with it. It will ask serious questions of the rest of the squad and maybe give an opportunity to a player who maybe didn't think they'd get one just as quickly as they will do now."

And Harte insisted that his policy of allowing county players to line out with their clubs as often as possible will continue despite this latest setback.

"Club action has to go on. We can't hold back loads of players from playing Gaelic games because we have a squad who want to play county football," he said.

"It is a problem, no doubt about it, and it creates problems for us. It's a gamble you have to take, but ultimately (it's good) for Gaelic games in our county if we allow those games to go ahead in the proper order.

"That's six rounds of the league now played and we'll get them for the next couple of weeks."

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