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Ciaran McGinley relishing new attacking role

By John Campbell

Ciaran McGinley never contemplated making the headlines as an ace marksman when he was initially drafted into the Tyrone defence by manager Mickey Harte.

But when the Errigal Ciaran clubman cracked home two goals and added a point for good measure in the recent Ulster Championship quarter-final replay against Down, manager Mickey Harte was presented with a welcome selection option.

McGinley had been feeling his way at half-back before he was suddenly switched into the half-forward line and it was from there that he tortured the Mourne defence at Pairc Esler, Newry.

Now with the scoring bit firmly between his teeth, McGinley is anxious to put more scores on the board against Monaghan in Sunday's semi-final at Clones.

A rangy work-horse, he atones for a lack of finesse by bringing boundless energy and a sharp eye for an opening to the Red Hands table.

Yet he concedes that he is still on a learning curve in terms of bedding down in inter-county football.

"I missed some chances against Down and I know myself I have lots to work on. The boys felt that they had a lot to answer for from the drawn game and I was delighted for the sake of our fans that we were able to win in Newry," reflects McGinley.

Tyrone unleashed a fresh level of intensity in that game which McGinley hopes they can replicate against a Monaghan side that will be making its debut in the Championship having had a seven-week break from competitive action following their Division Two final win over Donegal.

"I was lucky enough to get those two goals against Down but Monaghan will make things very hard because they will be keen to keep their title. They will be playing at home, they have lots of experience and also have the confidence that comes from a winning run," points out McGinley.

Even without cultured finisher Conor McManus, Monaghan are still expected to pose a huge threat with players like Jack McCarron, Paudie McKenna, Kieran Hughes and of course Paul Finlay carrying a big scoring threat.

McGinley, of course, is by no means the only Tyrone forward capable of reaping handsome scoring dividends.

Kyle Coney, Darren McCurry and the evergreen Sean Cavanagh are among those capable of hitting the target from distance not to mention the contribution that goalkeeper Niall Morgan can make from placed balls.

"There is no doubt that we have quality finishers. The last day out things ran for me but it could be someone else's turn on Sunday.

"The important thing is that we get a win that will take us into the semi-final against Armagh," adds McGinley.

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