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Ulster Championship: Tyrone stars back to boost Harte options

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte expects to have a stronger hand for the forthcoming Ulster senior football championship semi-final against high-flying Donegal.

Owen Mulligan, Dermot Carlin and Colm Cavanagh have all set their sights on starting places having been overlooked in Harte’s line-up for the quarter-final win over Monaghan.

In addition, Joe McMahon will be available again, although there is a doubt about his brother Justin who is understood to be still suffering from hamstring trouble.

Mulligan looked impressive following his introduction against Monaghan while Cavanagh affords Harte options at midfield and half-forward with Carlin ready to provide defensive cover.

The Red Hands may not have scaled the heights against Eamonn McEnaney’s side but the form of Conor Gormley, Stephen O’Neill and Sean Cavanagh was particularly impressive.

Harte has continually talked up the importance of the old hands to his team and his ongoing faith in their ability was more than justified in the clash with Monaghan.

Now he will be looking for a more rounded performance against a Donegal side that has already claimed the scalps of Antrim and Cavan — the latter without captain Martin Duffy for all but the first 16 minutes — without being fully tested.

Now Donegal boss McGuinness is tasked with formulating what he perceives will be his best side to meet a Tyrone outfit chasing a third Ulster title on the trot.

Meanwhile, the Central Competitions Control Committee has confirmed venues and throw-in times for the first round of the All Ireland football Qualifiers on Saturday week, June 25.

There will be a double-bill at Kingpsan Breffni Park Cavan where the home team will face Longford before Louth face Meath in a repeat meeting of last year’s controversial Leinster final.

All Ireland qualifiers: Clare v Down (Ennis 3pm), Antrim v Westmeath (Casement Park 2pm), London v Fermanagh (Ruislip 1.30pm), Cavan v Longford (Kingspan Breffni Park 5pm), Louth v Meath (Kingspan Breffni Park 7pm), Offaly v Monaghan (Tullamore 7pm) Wicklow v Sligo (Aughrim 7pm), Laois v Tipperary (Portlaoise 7pm)

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