Mickey Harte last night heralded a new era for Tyrone football, confirming a major overhaul of his squad and the departure of 11 established players.
A new-look Red Hand side will take the field in 2013, with 14 new faces called up.
Experienced stars John Devine, Owen Mulligan, Brian McGuigan and Davy Harte are no longer involved, although Mulligan’s future remains unclear, with the attacker involved in Sunday’s Ulster Club IFC final with his club Cookstown.
Harte held a meeting with his new squad with defenders Sean O’Neill, Damien McCaul and Stephen McNally also left out, along with midfielders Niall McKenna and Aidan Cassidy and attackers Peter Hughes and Ciaran Gervin.
Cathal McCarron, who had reportedly also been let go by the treble All-Ireland winning manager, remains a member of the 39-man squad.
Niall Morgan of Edendork would appear to be a readymade replacement for Devine, bringing a Stephen Cluxton-style asset with his ability to kick points from long-range free kicks. Conor McAliskey of Clonoe, the leading scorer in the county league, is another recruit, as is Coalisland midfielder Plunkett Kane.
Harte may take another look at both players in Saturday’s league final.
Ardboe’s McGuigan clan will continue to be represented, with Brian’s younger brother, Shea, given his opportunity to step up to the inter-county scene.
Harte revealed last week that he had his eye on a number of players from his own club, Errigal Ciaran, and he has included three — Ciaran McGinley, Tommy Canavan and Stefan Tierney.
Omagh pair Conan Grugan and Barry Tierney have also received call-ups, as have Danny McBride of Strabane, Kevin Gallagher (Newtownstewart), Dean McNally (Kildress), Sean Warnock (Greencastle) and Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher).
“Any player that has ever represented Tyrone has always been of a high standard and while it’s disappointing for those that are not now involved, I’m sure there will be opportunities for some of them to come back in, at some stage down the line. I would think the door will remain open,” said Tyrone PRO Damian Harvey.
But he added: “There are probably fewer opportunities for the guys that are further on in years to do that.”
Harvey described the inclusion of the newcomers as a golden opportunity to make a name for themselves as Tyrone players.
“It’s a huge opportunity for the new men that have been called up to come in an make an impact and represent Tyrone.
“They’re coming in to play Division One football, against the best teams in the country.”
Only five members of the squad that won Tyrone’s first All-Ireland title in 2003 remain — Stephen O’Neill, Conor Gormley, Sean Cavanagh, Pascal McConnell and Dermot Carlin — remain involved.
Tyrone squad: Pascal McConnell (Newtonstewart), Aidan McCrory (Errigal Ciaran), Conor Clarke (Omagh), Cathal McCarron (Dromore), Mickey Murphy (Galbally), Mark Donnelly (Carrickmore), Colm Cavanagh (Moy), Conor Gormley (Carrickmore), PJ Quinn (Moortown), Mattie Donnelly (Trillick), Joe McMahon (Omagh), Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran), Johnny Lafferty (Urney), Paddy McNeice (Coalisland), Ronan McNabb (Dromore), Dermot Carlin (Killyclogher), Martin Penrose (Carrickmore), Stephen O’Neill (Clann na nGael), Darren McCurry (Edendork), Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran), Ronan O’Neill (Omagh), Justin McMahon (Omagh), Kyle Coney (Ardboe), Sean Cavanagh (Moy), Stephen McNulty (Clonoe), Conan Grugan (Omagh), Barry Tierney (Omagh), Plunkett Kane (Coalisland), Ciaran McGinley (Errigal Ciaran), Danny McBride (Strabane), Kevin Gallagher (Newtownstewart), Conor McAliskey (Clonoe), Dean McNally (Kildress), Niall Morgan (Edendork), Stefan Tierney (Errigal Ciaran), Tommy Canavan (Errigal Ciaran), Shea McGuigan (Ardboe), Sean Warnock (Greencastle), Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher).
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