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Tyrone to bounce back after demotion

Tyrone's demotion to Division Two of the NFL will fuel their their fire for Sunday’s Ulster Championship confrontation with Antrim, according to the versatile Joe McMahon.

The Omagh St Enda’s clubman acknowledges that relegation in the league is “a serious setback” for Tyrone but believes that the team can now step up to unleash their full potential in the Championship.

“There’s no point in saying anything else — we were disappointed to make the drop into Division Two. We did not play well in our last game against Dublin and although we have had injuries we thought we might stay up but it wasn’t to be. Now the Championship offers us a platform to show what we are really capable of and we want to make the most of this,” states McMahon, who’s in no doubt the Red Hands possess a hunger to enhance their proud Championship record.

“When you see a player like Brian Dooher coming back in at 35 years of age from the kind of injuries he has had you see the real hunger that is there. The other boys have this hunger too,” insists McMahon.

Manager Mickey Harte has often held Dooher up as a shining light and no one concurs more with this outlook than McMahon.

“Brian has great leadership qualities and pride. The other players look up to him and he sets the perfect example.

“When you see what he has been through in terms of pain and lengthy rehab you just know that his commitment is absolute,” states McMahon.

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Dooher’s return, he believes, has given the team “a great boost altogether”.

He adds: “When you are doing the drills in training he’s the man you want to be catching. He does not spare himself and this kind of thing just spurs on the rest of us.”

l STATISTICS released from Croke Park last night shed new light on the hand pass controversy that dogged the first round of championship action over the last weekend.

An in-house review of the Ulster preliminary round between Derry and Armagh in Celtic Park has revealed that just six of the 196 hand passes executed were adjudged by referee Maurice Deegan to be illegal.

The breakdown of hand passes was 118 by Derry to Armagh's 78 with four of the six frees for incorrect technique with the hand pass awarded against Derry.

Players and managers have queued up to criticise the new hand pass but the GAA's director general Paraic Duffy has insisted there can be no change to what was passed.

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