GAA Football

Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh a major concern for Tyrone's Ulster SFC opener

Colm Cavanagh is struggling to be fit for Tyrone's Ulster SFC opener against Monaghan next month
Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Francis Mooney

ALLSTAR midfielder Colm Cavanagh is a major concern for Tyrone’s Ulster SFC opener against Monaghan next month.

But wing back Tiernan McCann has returned to training, and is on course to face the Farney men at Healy Park on May 20.

Cavanagh has still not been able to train with the squad since suffering a quad muscle injury a couple of days before the NFL game against Kerry in late March.

He has started to do some light work as part of his rehab programme, but faces a race against time for the first defence of the provincial championship title.

“Colm hasn’t been able to return to training as yet. with the type of injury that he has, it’s rest and recovery, and any exertion can exacerbate his problem,” said Tyrone PRO Eugene McConnell.

“The scan at the outset suggested that it could take five or six weeks.”

Cavanagh and McCann are both key men in the Tyrone set-up, two of the most important players in Mickey Harte’s side, and the loss of either of them would be a major blow. The absence of both would represent a serious setback in the Red Hands’ bid to win a third successive provincial title.

“These two men are pivotal,” the PRO remarked.

McCann has been out of action since damaging a kneecap in the League win over Kildare on February 11, and while he has resumed training, he remains some way off total participation. The Killyclogher man’s pace is one of the team’s most valuable attributes.

“He’s maybe not back in intensive training yet, but he’s back out and mobile again, and doing enough to merit consideration for selection,” said McConnell.

“He seems to be moving okay, but that’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready.”

McConnell added: “Mickey (Harte) has the experience and the know-how to decide when decisions can be made on whether they will make it for May 20, how long to give these lads to prove their fitness.

“He knows when his limit is stretched to in terms of a make-or-break deadline, when a call will have to be made on whether or not to include them, but he’s going to give them as long as he possibly can, because he knows how important they are to the team.

“Injuries do take time to heal, and he’s erring on the side of caution, hoping that they will make it, but obviously there’s no guarantee.”

Malachy O’Rourke’s Monaghan will travel to Omagh with high hopes of turning Tyrone over, following an impressive League campaign which saw some exciting new talent emerge.

“Monaghan are waiting there with an ambush in mind. they have got one up on us in the National League,” said McConnell.

“Of course the cut and thrust of Championship football is totally different, but psychologically they will be saying to themselves, we have the measure of Tyrone, and for their players, that league win will be a big confidence booster.

“It will be a massive challenge for Tyrone there’s no doubt, but let’s hope that Tyrone have the experience, and the know-how to win Ulster Championships. the last two years have been testimony to that, and wouldn’t it be nice to win three in a row.

“It all lends itself to an absorbing tie on the 20th of May.”

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