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Mickey Harte gives Tyrone duo Colm Cavanagh and Tiarnan McCann the green light

 

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has included Colm Cavanagh and Tiarnan McCann in his starting line-up for tomorrow's all-important All-Ireland qualifier against Meath at Pairc Tealteann, Navan (5pm).

Both players started in the Ulster Championship defeat to Monaghan but were forced to come off having battled against injury in the build-up to their team's surprise setback against Malachy O'Rourke's side.

Cavanagh will now have a new midfield partner with Dungannon ace Padraig McNulty handed a starting place, while Michael McKernan will take over from the suspended Peter Harte at left-half-back.

Niall Sludden will again have a key role in the attack and will be flanked by skipper Mattie Donnelly and Conor Meyler in the half-forward-line, while Richie Donnelly, brother of the captain, is included at full-forward with Cathal McShane and Conor McAliskey either side of him.

Lee Brennan is an absentee through an injury picked up against Monaghan, while Ronan O'Neill, who indicated his displeasure at being substituted against the Oriel side in the 62nd minute having been sent on from the bench earlier in the game, is again named among the Red Hands replacements.

Declan McClure misses out on the game because of injury, but manager Harte looks to have useful options on the bench.

Prior to the Ulster Championship, Harte had expressed the hope that his side might make it a hat-trick of provincial titles by the most direct route but Monaghan left those aspirations in ruins before being bushwhacked themselves by Fermanagh last weekend.

Harte is aware that his side will be coming up against a Meath team that lost to Longford in the quarter-final of the Leinster Championship, who will now meet Dublin in the semi-final on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the draw for this year's Tyrone Senior Football Championship was made last night at the Centre of Excellence at Garvaghey, where the Lissan Coal Company was introduced as the county's new sponsor.

Elsewhere, Antrim joint manager Dominic McKinley believes his side will need to produce a top-class display if they are to beat Kerry in the Joe McDonagh Cup (All-Ireland Championship) at St Mary's Park, Cushendall tomorrow (3.00pm).

Even if they win, the Saffrons will be keeping their fingers crossed that Westmeath will beat Carlow, a game which will also commence at 3.00pm.

Should this happen, then Antrim will face Westmeath again in the final of the competition in a fortnight's time.

McKinley said: "It's just the way things have turned out following the round robin series.

"Westmeath are already through to the final but they still have to play Carlow. Not only do we need to produce the goods against Kerry, who will really test us, but we're looking for a favour from Westmeath into the bargain."

Tyrone Championship Draw: Omagh v Aghyaran, Donaghmore v Trillick, Derrylaughan v Killyclogher, Coalisland v Dromore, Moy v Edendork Clonoe v Ardboe, Errigal Ciaran v Carrickmore, Galbally v Pomeroy.

Tyrone (v Meath): N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, H P McGeary; T McCann, F Burns, M McKernan; C Cavanagh, P McNulty; M Donnelly, N Sludden, C Meyler; C McShane, R Donnelly, C McAliskey.

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