GAA Football

Connor McAliskey opts out of Tyrone panel

Clonoe forward Connor McAliskey only rejoined the Tyrone panel this year after stepping away in 2020, but has opted to step away after struggling for game-time. Picture by Philip Walsh

CLONOE forward Connor McAliskey has opted off the Tyrone panel after failing to force his way into the plans of Red Hand management duo Feargal Logan and Brian Dooher.

The 29-year-old only rejoined the panel this year, having decided to step away from the inter-county scene at the end of the 2019 season.

However, McAliskey hasn't seen any action since the National League got under way in the middle of May. He was an unused substitute in the games against Donegal, Armagh and Monaghan as Tyrone secured their Division One status, setting up a semi-final showdown with Kerry in the process.

Club-mates Declan McClure and Danny McNulty have also opted off the county panel after struggling for game-time, with both featuring in Clonoe's defeat to Dromore last Friday night.

McAliskey's decision to step away and focus on club football is an indication of the competitiveness in the Red Hand forward ranks at present, with Niall Sludden, Peter Harte, Kieran McGeary, Mattie Donnelly, Darragh Canavan, Conor McKenna, Mark Bradley, Darren McCurry and Lee Brennan among a wealth of options available.

Newcomer Paul Donaghy - the top scorer in the county championship last year as Dungannon Clarke's swept to an unexpected O'Neill Cup success – has made an instant impact, starting all three games so far and firing over 0-10 on a debut to remember against Donegal.

2019 Allstar Cathal McShane is still to come back into the frame too as he works his way back from the injury that blighted 2020. Weeks after returning to the Tyrone fold, having rejected an offer to join Aussie Rules outfit Adelaide Crows, he sustained a nasty ankle injury in a League clash with Galway.

A setback in his recovery from that injury forced McShane out of the resumption of the Red Hands' League campaign last October, while he also missed the Ulster Championship exit to Donegal in Ballybofey.

The Owen Roe's man has played no part in the three League games so far, though Logan and Dooher may be tempted to give him some minutes against the Kingdom in Killarney on June 12, given there is nothing major at stake.

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