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We’re flying the flag for Ulster, says Tyrone boss Mickey

By John Campbell

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte can never be accused of not being able to see the bigger picture.

Sean Kavanagh is the big imponderable in the Tyrone game plan, except for Mickey Harte who knows exactly how he’ll play it

His team may be on the threshold of what would be their third All Ireland title in just six years but the Red Hands boss, while relishing the prospect of seeing the Sam Maguire Cup return, is particularly pleased that Ulster will now be represented in the final for the first time since 2005.

“Obviously our win on that occasion was pleasing but I don’t think it would be particularly good for our province if we were to have had three successive All Ireland finals without a team from here in the equation. Kerry are dominant surely but you can’t blame them for that, they have beaten what has been put before them and are now going for their third title on the trot.

“But we are getting the chance to produce our best form not just for ourselves but for Ulster. Obviously we won’t live to overtake Kerry in terms of All Ireland titles but we now can show what we have stood for over the course of recent years,” insists Harte.

The Tyrone boss spent the weekend fine-tuning his strategy for next Sunday’s sell-out showdown and believes his team, which he expects to announce in midweek, can take considerable heart from their wins over Kerry in 2003 and 2005. He must decide if he should retain Sean Cavanagh at full-forward and use Stephen O’Neill as an impact substitute.

“I suppose you could say that these provide encouragement but this is a whole new ball game. Obviously it’s a nice place for us to be going into this head-to-head encounter but we have to produce a performance worthy of the occasion,” warns Harte.

Meanwhile, new Cavan manager Tommy Carr will be formally paraded at Kingspan Breffni Park tonight. The former Dublin skipper and manager has a big task on his hands to try and restore Cavan’s fortunes following the abdication of Donal Keaogan who has been in charge for the past three years.

The Derry county board hope to be in a position shortly to make an announcement on just who will succeed Paddy Crozier as football team boss.

Ireland International Rules manager Sean Boylan held a trial game at the week-end and will take in Sunday’s All Ireland final between Tyrone and Kerry with a view to amending his panel for the forthcoming Test series against Australia.

Ulster’s Anthony Tohill, a key component of the Rules squad management team, is currently playing an important role in drafting the playing squad.

One of the province’s most respected families has been bereaved by the death of Mrs Peggy Harney in Armagh. Her husband Joe and six sons have all been actively involved with the Pearse Og club and her grandson Tim will be in goal when Tyrone meet Mayo in the All Ireland Minor final on Sunday in Croke Park.

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