GAA Football

Tyrone pair Cathal McShane and Conor McKenna locked and loaded for Croke Park Ulster Championship final

Conor McKenna missed the quarter-final against Cavan but did feature in the semi-final win against Donegal. Pic Philip Walsh.
Andy Watters

DO Tyrone have roles for Cathal McShane and Conor McKenna in Saturday's Ulster final?

“I would like to think we have,” says joint-manager Brian Dooher, dropping a very broad hint that the injury-plagued duo are set to feature prominently against Monaghan at Croke Park.

So far in this Championship run, McShane has clocked up just over half-an-hour of game-time over two games, registering four points. Meanwhile, Eglish clubman McKenna missed out entirely against Cavan but came on as a 48th minute sub against Donegal.

“They are both exceptional talents,” said Dooher.

“At the same time they have had injuries, Cathal maybe a more longer-term injury issue, while Conor had a bit of a niggle too there so they are working well.

“They are training every week and they are getting better and they will definitely be in the shake-up this weekend. Have we roles for them? I would like to think we have.

“A player like Conor McKenna, I think you could put him anywhere and I would say he could do a job for you.

“It is a case of horses for courses, where is the best place to put him against the team we are playing and giving him a job of work to do.

“We will see how it goes over the next couple of nights in training and see where we are. We are happy with the way both of them are coming, they are working hard, they are getting there and they are getting a wee bit of match fitness with every training session. They are on track to get there."

Tiarnan McCann is another who will be pushing for a starting spot after his three points against Donegal and Johnny Munroe is also back in full training. Meanwhile, Darragh Canavan may also play a part in Saturday's decider - Dooher says the Errigal Ciaran playmaker is “in the shake-up”.

“He had a very bad injury and he is only back training again so we will see how he goes,” he added.

“It is a big ask for him to step back up again to that sort of level again but he is getting there.

“We are glad to see him coming back to training this week and to see him out there along with us. He is like everyone else, there is another 37 boys competing for places.

“We should have everybody back, most of the boys are there or thereabouts.”

Tyrone's formidable arsenal is being locked and loaded but Monaghan's goal-scoring threat is a serious concern for the Red Hand management as they plan their strategy for Croke Park.

In six games so far this year the Farneymen have conjured up 11 goals including four-goal salvos against Donegal (in the League) and Armagh, in the Ulster semi-final.

A repeat of either of those performances is certain to swing the Anglo-Celt decider their way and Dooher and Feargal Logan will send their men out to close down forwards Conor McManus and Jack McCarron and keep a close eye on the likes of midfielder Darren Hughes, another experienced player with a keen eye for a goal.

“We know Monaghan are probably the top team for scoring goals,” said Dooher.

“Their goal-scoring is serious and they are a serious threat going forward.

“That is going to be a big factor and we need to be very alert to that threat. Whether we can beat them or not remains to be seen but I hope we can give a good account of ourselves and our players can go out and play well and do the best that they can. Hopefully that's enough for us and if it's not then we'll have to go back to the drawing board again.”

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GAA Football