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Sean Cavanagh's comeback boosts Tyrone


In contention: Sean Cavanagh is available again after injury

In contention: Sean Cavanagh is available again after injury

Lorcan Doherty

In contention: Sean Cavanagh is available again after injury

Tyrone, Monaghan and Derry are just three of several counties burdened by uncertainty as they prepare to embark on the Ulster senior football championship trail.

Red Hands boss Mickey Harte is hopeful that he will get a maximum return from skipper Sean Cavanagh in Sunday's opener against Donegal while the revelation that a player who had been part of the Monaghan panel in the recent past has failed a drugs test now serves as a distraction in the build-up to Sunday week's game against Cavan.

And Oak Leaf boss Brian McIver must make do with just two players from county and provincial champions Slaughtneil for the game against Down instead of the six he had hoped for because of injuries.

Tyrone's fears over Cavanagh's fitness have been allayed now that he has reappeared for his club Moy having been on crutches only a short time ago.

Tyrone selector Gavin Devlin says: "Sean has taken a full part in training and we expect that he will be playing."

Donegal, meanwhile, put the final touches to their plans for Sunday's game at a bonding exercise at the Lough Erne Resort complex in Enniskillen.

Manager Rory Gallagher expects Paddy McGrath and Martin McElhinney to be available for selection against Tyrone having recovered from injuries.

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Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke is striving to ensure his players retain their focus on the meeting with Cavan despite the claim that a player who had formerly been part of the squad had failed a drugs test.

Monaghan drew with Galway (1-21 to 2-18) in a challenge game on Saturday but the failed drugs test was the big talking point. The matter is under investigation by the Irish Sports Council's Anti-Doping unit.

Derry manager McIver has resigned himself to the fact that Brendan Rogers and Chrissy McKaigue are the only two Slaughtneil players he will have against Down on June 7.

Patsy Bradley, Karl McKaigue, Paudie McGuigan and Christopher Bradley are all out of bounds because of injury.

Meanwhile, Armagh will be playing their football in the top flight next term after their 4-18 to 4-6 win over Donegal in the Division Two Ladies final.

The Orchard County took their inspiration from the dynamic Aimee Mackin, who scored 2-5.

She had already made her imprint on proceedings by half-time when Armagh led by 3-10 to 2-3, her two goals proving instrumental in her team's dominance.

Yvonne McMonagle and Geraldine McLaughlin each scored two goals for Donegal but with Fionnuala McKenna also bagging two goals, Armagh remained well clear of their opponents.

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