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Tyrone Senior Football Championship: Paddy Crozier faces up to mounting problems

By John Campbell

Former Derry boss Paddy Crozier may have thought that he encountered travails while in charge of the Oak Leaf side but it would now appear that they are nothing compared to the problems he faces right now in his role as manager of Omagh St Enda’s.

As he prepares for Sunday’s attractive Tyrone senior football championship semi-final against Carrickmore at Pomeroy, Crozier finds himself stripped of the services of Justin McMahon, the best full-back in the province, because of a four-week suspension.

With McMahon’s brother Joe still battling to get fit, having picked up an injury while training with the International Rules squad, and Tyrone’s All Ireland Minor winning star forward Ronan O’Neill having been unable to train since that victory over Cork on Sunday week last, Crozier certainly does not have his sorrows to seek.

Yet his woes could be added to considerably over the next 24 hours. The Omagh club will tonight bring a plea to the Ulster Council’s Hearings Committee to have proposed bans lifted on Stephen Mullan, Michéal Gallagher and Dara O’Neill.

The proposed suspensions were announced after the Tyrone Competitions Control Committee considered video evidence from the Omagh v Ardboe semi-final which highlighted a melee involving a number of players from both sides.

A subsequent appeal against the proposed bans within Tyrone failed and now the club is taking the matter to the Ulster Council. It is not expected that any formal announcement in relation to the outcome of tonight’s hearing will be made until tomorrow.

However, as he ponders the daunting prospect of entering a high-profile semi-final contest without six key players, Crozier is still keeping his fingers crossed that the meeting will offer him some form of consolation.

“As we speak, though, we have to accept the fact that we must prepare with what we have at our disposal. Obviously it is hard to be going into such an important game without established players but this is the hand we have been dealt,” admits Crozier.

“We certainly would need everyone on board but that’s not going to happen. We will be looking to those players who start the game and those used from the bench to play above and beyond the call of duty on Sunday,” he added.

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