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Harte hopes for positive injury news on McCann

 

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone are nervously awaiting the results of a scan on Tiernan McCann's knee after the Killyclogher man limped off in the 77th minute of the Red Hands' win over Kildare on Sunday.

Early diagnoses are unclear, but McCann was to undergo a scan yesterday and report to Tyrone training early today to have a full assessment on the extent of the damage to his knee.

He could be absent for this Saturday night's Dr McKenna Cup final against Donegal, with Tyrone hoping the situation isn't serious.

"It is a bit worrying for us," said manager Mickey Harte at the launch of the McKenna Cup final in Strabane.

"He hurt his knee in the last few minutes and he had to come off.

"He does need a scan. We are hoping that it is a bang and a bruise more than anything else, but until that is confirmed by a scan we don't know what the situation is."

Harte was also surprised to learn of the reports that Dublin's Bernard Brogan may have suffered a cruciate ligament injury in training last week.

"That is shocking news to hear," Harte stated.

"It is a serious injury at any age because it takes a year to recover from the injury in terms of being physically fit to play, and I firmly believe it takes another year after that to get back to the level that you were at.

"Some people can do very well and be back to full form within a year and a half, but by and large it takes that second year for a player to get their confidence back, to get their game speed up and to get all the know-how back into their DNA.

"It is a serious injury, a horrible injury, and I hate to hear when people get it. I really feel for him at this stage of his career where he was looking very sharp."

One man who has made what looks like a full recovery from the curse of the cruciate is Tyrone attacker Connor McAliskey, whose comeback has been held up by Harte as an example of mental positivity.

"He worked so hard to get over the injury so maybe it is about the frame of mind as well," he said.

"Some people can be down about it and feel sorry for themselves but Connor McAliskey was always around the place - bright and breezy as he is - and he worked really hard. He is an amazing case because he played a game within one year of the injury."

With Brogan now 34-years-old, the fears are that if his injury is confirmed, it might be difficult for him to come back the same player as before.

However, Harte would tell him that age is no barrier.

"The beat on the street is that once a player is over 30 he is probably nearly done, and that is the mentality that exists out there, so players have to be very solid to have the belief in themselves to say, 'I am 31, 32 or 33, I have still a lot to offer, I can stay the pace'," he said.

"They might have to work harder at it and they might always be viewed by their age rather than their ability and that is not fair.

"We need to give our senior players more credit and the right attitude to show those players is to say, 'I believe you are a good enough athlete and a good enough player and I don't care what age you are, I just want to see what you can do on the field', and that is something that people need to step back and appreciate.

"Technology is there now for better surgery, better treatment, better recovery but that still does not fix the mindset.

"It asks a lot of a player to get over that, so while it is great to have all that medical advancements as back-up, it still asks a serious question of the mentality of an athlete who was looking at having a big season and which is now gone.

"And regardless of technology, your season is gone once you sustain a cruciate injury."

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