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Injured Cathal McShane happy to put team rewards above individual accolades as Tyrone seek late spark


Cathal McShane

Cathal McShane

Cathal McShane

Injured Tyrone ace Cathal McShane has flashed a message of encouragement to his team mates as they seek to make up lost ground in their bid to reach the Allianz Football League final.

The Red Hands will take on unbeaten Dublin at Healy Park, Omagh, on Saturday in a vital Division One game that they cannot afford to lose.

And McShane, currently recovering from the ankle injury he sustained against Galway on Sunday, is anxious to see Mickey Harte's side get back to winning ways following their setback against the Tribesmen.

Even though he won the coveted Footballer of the Year honour at the Ulster GAA Writers' Association awards banquet last weekend, McShane places much greater emphasis on team success.

"At this time of the year, teams have set out their targets and obviously Tyrone are no exception to this," he points out. "Going forward we want to be picking up silverware. It was my dream from I was a young kid to play for Tyrone and to represent my county always holds a special appeal for me.

"I just hope the team can come good against Dublin and remain in the running for a place in the league final. Obviously it has been a bit topsy-turvy in the league to date but there are still three rounds of games to be played and you never know what might happen.

"While it is nice for players to win individual awards, the team must always come first. That is very much the case as far as I am concerned. There is a great spirit within this Tyrone side and that's something I am very happy to share in."

McShane, who found himself bracketed with Tyrone greats including Peter Canavan, Brian Dooher, Stephen O'Neill and Peter Harte when he won the writers' award, maintains it provides him with a further spur to reignite his career when he recovers from his injury.

"When I looked at the list of players that had won the award in the past, I was more than honoured to join them. It was a very impressive list indeed," says 24-year-old McShane.

While his accolade has been a source of consolation in what has been a disappointing spell, McShane is already focused on the future.

"I am very grateful to have had the chance to represent my county and hope to do so again," he adds.

"My club Owen Roes has played a big part in my career. They obviously gave me the initial platform on which to express myself and allow me to move onto to the inter-county stage.

"This is something for which I will always be grateful and I think the best way we as players can thank the Tyrone supporters who have been so good to us is by winning a major trophy."

Harte's men certainly face an enormous mission on Saturday when they will bid to compensate for their abject failure against Galway at Tuam last time out.

Harte is expected to finalise his side at training tonight and will be forced to amend his attack following the injury to McShane.

But both Padraig McShane and Michael McKernan were back in the frame against Galway which is a welcome bonus.

Belfast Telegraph