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GAA Football

Cathal McCarron out of Tyrone's clash with Dublin but Lee Brennan is fit again

Tyrone's Cathal McCarron evades Conor McManus of Monaghan during the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Healy Park, Omagh. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.
Francis Mooney

TYRONE will be without experienced defender Cathal McCarron for Saturday’s Super 8s clash with All-Ireland champions Dublin.

McCarron suffered a knee injury just four minutes into last weekend’s runaway win over Roscommon, and manager Mickey Harte revealed that while the extent of the problem has not yet been confirmed, he will miss the big Healy park tie, the first ever championship meeting of the counties at the Omagh venue.

“It wouldn’t look like he’ll be available for this week, for sure. He’s had an x-ray, which doesn’t tell you an awful lot, but he has to get a scan on it, so we won’t know until the scan is done.

“It’s a knee injury, so we would be concerned about it.”

Colm Cavanagh also shipped a knock last weekend, but will be fit to line out at midfield for the Ulster men.

“Colm is okay, it’s just bruising on the leg that he has, so it was never going to be a muscle injury, just a bruising, so we’re hoping that will tame down.”

And Lee Brennan, the NFL Division One top scorer, is set to return after missing the entire Qualifier series and the opening quarter-final round robin tie.

He aggravated a hamstring injury in the Ulster Championship first round defeat to Monaghan back in May and has been sidelined ever since.

“Lee is virtually ready to be back again with us,” said Harte. “He could have been possibly there last week, but we didn’t feel like risking it, because it’s a recurrence of a hamstring injury, and we wanted to be perfectly sure that we’re not going to give him any more trouble that would finish his season.

“We’re erring on the side of caution, but I thin he should be nearly ready for this week.”

Harte was unable to watch the entirety of Dublin’s victory over Donegal last Sunday as he attended to post-match issues from the Croke Park curtain-raiser.

But he did see enough to confirm his view that his side will need to rise to another level in order to get a result at Omagh.

“I was concentrating on our own, and reflecting on it, so I haven’t seen an awful lot of it.

“I saw a bit of it, I saw the couple of goals that were scored, and saw the higher intensity of a game that it was, looking in. it looked a higher intensity than anything we have been involved in.

“So I think there’s not much changed about Dublin, they’re still a class act.”

Scoring an average of 24 points per game, Tyrone’s firepower has been one of the talking points of this year’s championship.

But Harte warned that the real test of his side’s attacking potential will be set by the Dubs this weekend.

“It’s definitely good to be scoring as much as we are, and again people will measure this on the level of opposition that we’re playing.

“I’m not being disparaging towards them, but they’re not Dublin, and they’re not Kerry, and they’re not Mayo and they’re not the top teams.

“They’re teams who are decent teams and take a bit of beating, but that’s where we’re at, we can’t read too much into that.

“It’s how much can we score against Dublin will be the acid test, and that has yet to come.”

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