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Harte: League form has no bearing on Ulster progress

By John Campbell

Mickey Harte may have absorbed his share of brickbats just recently in relation to his team's perceived style of play but this is certainly not deflecting him from making preparations for what he hopes will prove a first-ever hat-trick of Ulster Championship titles for the Red Hands.

Tyrone are to meet Monaghan, the biggest obstacle to their continued dominance of the provincial competition, in a May 20 quarter-final and Harte's focus is on putting out his strongest side.

With Niall Sludden having turned out for Dromore at the weekend, his recovery from injury provides Harte with a boost although he still has concerns over the availability of Colm Cavanagh and Tiernan McCann.

While Cavanagh is understood to have a chance of making the Monaghan match, McCann's prospects are not as good.

With both Monaghan and Tyrone having produced strong bursts in the closing stages of the Allianz League, this has helped to add spice to their championship confrontation while Monaghan's one-point league win over the Red Hands could provide them with momentum.

However, Tyrone's robust finish to the league - which saw them win three games in succession scoring 5-43 - has sparked optimism within the county that the Anglo-Celt Cup will continue to remain there but Harte is nonetheless preaching caution.

"We may have done well in our concluding league games but that does not mean we are guaranteed anything in the championship," said Harte.

"We are still a work in progress. The championship provides the real test for teams and we hope to give it our best shot."

Meanwhile, Cavan could be without skipper Dara McVeety for their Ulster Championship preliminary round tie against Donegal on May 13.

McVeety is understood to have suffered a hamstring tear in the Division Three final loss at the weekend and could be out for four to six weeks.

Belfast Telegraph

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