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Stephen O’Neill boost for Tyrone against Dublin

Stephen O’Neill is back in contention to play some role for Tyrone against Dublin this weekend.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte reported yesterday that O’Neill, their only current Allstar, had completed the last two training sessions in full since the Ulster final.

O’Neill has a heel injury and did not train for the three weeks in the build up to the Monaghan game.

He lasted just 10 minutes of the Ulster semi-final against Down at the end of June.

Harte admitted it was “encouraging” for the player after completing the training and it augured well for the weekend which throws up a third All-Ireland quarter final meeting with Dublin in six years.

O’Neill missed Tyrone’s entire league programme due to an elbow injury sustained in the McKenna Cup final in January.

Harte has acknowledged the improvement in Dublin through the qualifiers and how Pat Gilroy is succeeding in making them a more difficult team to beat.

“Clearly there is a plan there to make them a harder team to break down rather than a better team to watch and that seems to be working now,” said Harte.

Harte also heaped praise on his opposite number describing his approach as “clever.”

“He's been able to play his own team down for these new and younger Dubs. They're taking the heat and the pressure off their team.”

Meanwhile, the GAA will welcome its one millionth championship spectator this season through the gates of Croke Park for Saturday's first of two All-Ireland quarter-final double bills.

The games between Kerry and Down and Tyrone and Dublin are expected to draw in excess of 70,000 and that will push figures over the one million barrier once again.

Despite the challenging economic times, the proliferation of live televised matches and the World Cup, the association now believes it is only 2pc down on numbers compared to the corresponding time 12 months ago.

Belfast Telegraph