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Tyrone's cause lifted by Kyle Coney recovery

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte will enjoy a rare Ulster Championship bonus – the presence of a fully-fit Kyle Coney in his squad.

Few players have endured the injury agony that the 24-year-old Red Hands ace has suffered in recent seasons, thus restricting his involvement in the championship in particular.

Indeed, he missed the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup and the first-half of the league this year following surgery to repair a long-term ankle problem.

For a player who has become rather too familiar with crutches, the forthcoming Ulster Championship offers a window of opportunity to unveil his vast repertoire of skills to a wider audience and he aims to make the most of it.

"I'm looking forward to the championship and to helping Tyrone maybe get a bit of silverware. I think we showed in the league that we are capable of playing to a high level but our aim now must be to achieve this on a consistent basis," insists Ardboe clubman Coney.

If Tyrone tended to blow hot and cold in the league, then Coney was positively on fire in the drawn game against Cork in particular when he landed eight points.

His assured style, willingness to forage for possession and strength make him a feared opponent, yet he is taking nothing for granted.

"There are a number of very good forwards seeking places in the starting line-up for Sunday. Mickey Harte knows he has options open to him, that's for sure," states Coney.

Ronan O'Neill, Mark Donnelly, Matthew Donnelly, Paddy McNeice, Conor McAliskey, Darren McCurry, Peter Harte, Shea McGuigan, Ronan McNabb and Plunkett Kane are just some of the players chasing recognition.

Coney was a member of the superb Tyrone side which won the All-Ireland minor title in 2008.

He signed a two-year contract for Sydney Swans in the AFL after Tyrone's triumph in 2008 but was back the following year.

Since then, injuries have disrupted his career but now Coney is intent on making up for lost time.

Those five All-Ireland seasons since last Tyrone were last crowned All-Ireland senior champions have slipped by quickly.

Some of the old guard still remain but it's to players like Coney that Red Hands supporters will be looking to this summer to rekindle the glory days.

Belfast Telegraph


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