Dr. McKenna Cup final v Tyrone

January 25, 2013
Monaghan v Tyrone: Athletic Grounds, Armagh: Saturday January 26th @ 7.30pm.

Monaghan now head back to the Athletic Grounds this Saturday to take on the holders Tyrone in the final of the 2013 Dr McKenna Cup. Monaghan face quite a challenge in taking on the holders particularly with Sean Cavanagh back in top form in midfield and Stephen O'Neill still pulling the strings on the edge of the square. The Tyrone defence has been impressive in the McKenna Cup so far with JoeMcMahon anchoring from the centre back berth but they could be without Conor Gormley this time around as he picked up an eye injury against Fermanagh that required him to attend casualty to check what damage if any had been done. His absence would be a blow to Tyrone but Mickey Harte has options to cover that eventuality. Tyrone's midfield certainly is impressive, Sean Cavanagh with four excellent games since his return from injury and Mickey Harte describing him as "making up for lost time". His partner in midfield Plunket Kane has been impressive and that central diamond will be crucial on Saturday evening. The experienced Joe McMahon was one of the catalysts that drove Tyrone to victory over Fermanagh and Cathal McCarron at full-back is always reliable. Tyrone will not have been at full strength in any game but given the fact that they have players of the calibre of Martin Penrose and Stephen O'Neill in the central attacking positions makes them a threat. They also have the likes of Peter Harte to call in while new comers Conor McAliskey and Darren McCurry look to possess the credentials to progress.
For Monaghan it will be a case of trying to improve on last Sunday's performance, cutting out some of the unforced errors in particular and concentrating on doing the simple things well. Malachy O'Rourke was always likely to make a few changes but two in particular may have been forced on him in that Drew Wylie pulled a hamstring last Sunday and could be out for a few weeks while Owen Coyle had to be assisted off the field following a foot/ankle injury that would make him extremely doubtful. Up-front the bulk of responsibility will again rest on Conor McManus but the Monaghan manager has options in the likes of Paul McArdle, Paul Finlay and Donal Hahessy while Gavan Doogan who came on as a sub last Sunday could also figure. Throw-in in Armagh on Saturday evening is at 7.30pm and extra time is mandatory should the sides end up level at the end of normal time.

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