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McMenamin decision imminent

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte expects to learn early in the New Year if experienced defender Ryan McMenamin will make himself available for another term with the Red Hands.

McMenamin is due to return from honeymoon next month and is expected to reveal his plans then.

Having already lost several players through retirements, Harte is anxious to keep a ration of experience on board.

Sean Cavanagh, Owen Mulligan, Martin Penrose, the McMahon brothers Joe and Justin, Pascal McConnell, Conor Gormley, Stephen O’Neill and Davy Harte now represent the old guard in the squad.

But Harte has moved to ensure that what many expect to be a new-look side will take shape quickly by introducing a number of third-level colleges players into his squad for the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup.

Following an Ulster Council rule change whereby college players can now make the choice of playing for their university or county as opposed to their universities having first call on them, Harte makes it quite clear that he is anxious to assess his younger platoon at first hand.

“I think it is important that we see these players and that they are part of their squad,” he said.

“The fact that they can be with us now from the start of the year is encouraging as it means they should be able to blend in better.

“It is important that they are made to feel part of the squad and allowed to challenge for their places.

“There is still a lot of talent here and obviously this will help competition for places in the side.”

Meanwhile Conal Kelly, Brian Neeson and Marty Johnston are in line to see action in Antrim’s line-up in the McKenna Cup.

Manager Liam Bradley will not have the services of Kevin Niblock for this competition as he is currently studying in England while the McGourty brothers CJ and Kevin are no longer in the panel.

This will open the door to newcomers and Bradley is keen to have a settled side for the National League.

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