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Major boost for Red Hands as McNamee gets green light

 

By John Campbell

Tyrone have received a considerable boost ahead of Sunday's vitally important All-Ireland quarter-final shoot-out with Ulster rivals Donegal now that full-back Ronan McNamee has been declared fit.

McNamee, a pillar of the Red Hands defence this season, was given the green light last night and manager Mickey Harte was only too delighted to include him in his starting line-up.

"It was a matter for the medical people. They had been monitoring Ronan closely and were obviously happy with him," said Harte.

The inclusion of McNamee means that the Tyrone side is unchanged with Harte keeping faith with the slick fusion of youth and experience which has served him well through the All-Ireland qualifiers in particular.

Colm Cavanagh and Padraig Hampsey will be at midfield while Peter Harte will again be cast in the role of playmaker with the inside trio of Cathal McShane, Ritchie Donnelly and Connor McAliskey hoping to add to their considerable scoring haul.

Harte acknowledges that Donegal will be formidable opponents on their own ground but believes that this can impose its own pressure on them.

"They will obviously want to maintain their fine record while we will be very keen to get into the semi-finals," he pointed out.

Donegal manager Declan Bonner, meanwhile, is keeping his cards close to his chest as he puts the finishing touches to the team's preparations for the game.

"Tyrone will certainly be asking a lot of questions of us," insisted Bonner. "We always knew that this was going to be something special. It's not often we get to play a Championship match in Ballybofey in August."

TYRONE: N Morgan; M McKernan, R McNamee, H P McGeary; T McCann, F Burns, P Harte; C Cavanagh, P Hampsey; M Donnelly, N Sludden, C Meyler; C McShane, R Donnelly, C McAliskey.

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