GAA Football

Colm Cavanagh, Lee Brennan and Tiernan McCann named in Tyrone starting line-up to face Monaghan

Colm Cavanagh has been named alongside Mattie Donnelly at midfield

COLM Cavanagh, Lee Brennan and Tiernan McCann have been named in Tyrone’s starting line-up for the Ulster quarter-final clash with Monaghan at Healy Park, Omagh on Sunday.

All three were injury doubts, but The Irish News understands that the trio came through an in-house game unscathed last weekend to prove their fitness for the clash with their Anglo-Celt Cup rivals.

McCann is named in the half-back line, while Cavanagh slots into his familiar midfield berth alongside Mattie Donnelly. Exciting forward talent Brennan gets his Championship debut in a talented full-forward line that also includes Connor McAliskey and Mark Bradley. Pomeroy clubman Frank Burns, named at centre half-back, is the other debutant in the side.

Experienced Moy campaigner Cavanagh hasn’t played a full game since his club’s All-Ireland intermediate success in February and suffered a quad injury in training in the week of Tyrone’s final Allianz Football League game against Kerry in March.

Manager Harte explained last week that he was back doing “80 per cent” of their training and it’s understood he came through the full training game last Saturday at Healy Park.

Speaking earlier this week, Sean Cavanagh said it would be ‘a risk’ to play his younger brother.

“He hasn’t played any football since we had the club All-Ireland final in mid-February,” said the three-time All-Ireland winner, who retired after last year’s All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin.

“He’s had no match practice, he’s back doing a bit of training. It’ll be an interesting call for Mickey over the next couple of days, whether he puts him in from the start on Sunday or not.

“He’s a lynchpin and a key player in Tyrone’s defensive unit. I would imagine if he’s feeling good and he’s feeling strong – I haven’t been at the training so I don’t know how he’s been going – I’d say if he’s anywhere near right, Mickey will want him there if at all possible.”

Brennan and McCann also came through the game with no injury setbacks. Brennan – who scored eight points when Sunday’s combatants met in the League back in February – had been a minor doubt since tweaking his hamstring on club duty with Trillick last month, but the dangerous forward looks set to play from the start against Monaghan.

McCann has played two club games since he returned from the knee injury he suffered back in February but he has recovered in time for Sunday’s quarter-final, which some observers are billing as the de facto Ulster final.

Monaghan – who were without star forward Conor McManus – came out on top 0-15 to 0-14 when these counties met in Division One in Caslteblayney, but Tyrone have won six of the last seven Championship meetings with the Farney county.

The most recent meeting between the Ulster rivals was in an All-Ireland quarter-final back in 2015 which the Red Hands won by four points.

There are nine survivors from that game, including Cavanagh and McCann, while the starting 15 named for Sunday includes 10 of the players who bowed out of last year’s Championship following a disappointing performance against eventual champions Dublin.

Tyrone (v Monaghan, Ulster SFC): N Morgan; P Hampsey, R McNamee, C McCarron; T McCann, F Burns, P Harte; C Cavanagh, M Donnelly; C McShane, N Sludden, C Meyler; L Brennan, C McAliskey, M Bradley

Subs: M O’Neill, R Brennan, R Donnelly, C McCann, D McClure, A McCrory, HP McGeary, K McGeary, M McKernan, P McNulty, R O’Neill

Derry (Christy Ring Cup v Armagh): M Kirkpatrick; D McCloskey, S Cassidy, N Farren; E McGill, C McKenna, P Cleary; M McGuigan, G Bradley; C O’Doherty, M McGrath, C Waldron; N Waldron, S McGuigan, B Cassidy

Subs: C McChrystal, A Grant, L Murphy, D Cartin, J Phelan, B Quigley, T Rankin, O Waldron, C Steele, P Burke, E Gilmore

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