Lawn back for Tyrone clash with Derry

ALLSTAR nominee Chris Lawn makes a dramatic return to the Tyrone team for the first round of the Bank of Ireland Ulster SFC clash with Derry at Clones on Sunday.

Lawn has not started a game this season, and just recently returned to full training following a lengthy struggle with a groin injury.

After missing out on Tyrone’s Allianz National League triumph, the experienced defender feared his season was on the verge of collapse as the injury failed to respond to treatment.

But his patience has paid off, and he will come in at right full back to replace Ryan McMenamin.

Centre back Gavin Devlin has been told he will make his championship debut, but the dream could be shattered at the 11th hour. The Ardboe man fears he could be called to a disciplinary hearing to answer a charge of stamping following an incident caught by television cameras in the National League final.

Should the GAC decide tonight to pursue the case, Devlin won’t know until Saturday evening whether he can play against the Oak Leafers.

Manager Mickey Harte is keeping his fingers crossed he can field his strongest side. He has dispensed with the goalkeeper rotation policy employed in the League, with John Devine retained as the last line of defence, a decision clearly influenced by two blinding saves in the second half of the NFL final win over Laois.

Midfield and attack all remain unchanged, despite the form of Gerard Cavlan and the return from injury of some key players. It’s an experienced selection with Devlin and corner forward Enda McGinley the only members of the team without senior championship experience.

Roscommon have been decimated by a series of injuries which will keep four of their key players out of the side to play Galway in the first round of the Connacht SFC at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

Midfield player Donal Casserly is ruled out with a broken bone in his hand, sustained in training. Wing forward Conor Conneely has a damaged cruciate ligament. Corner back Mick Ryan injured his pelvic bone also in training, while Andy McPadden loses out because of a shoulder injury.

“These injuries could not have come at a worst time for us and have cast a shadow over our preparations,” county secretary Tom Mullaney said.

Both the Roscommon and Galway teams are due to be announced tonight and Michael Donnellan is expected to return to the Maroon colours.

lDUBLIN senior footballers will swagger in front of the Hill this summer wearing Adidas boots, as the Dublin county board yesterday announced a one-year boot sponsorship deal with the company. Adidas had originally earmarked Tommy Lyons’ team to showcase their wares in Croke Park. However, the footballers lobbied to have both codes included.

The deal, revenue of which will go into the players’ holiday fund for the football and hurling teams, will include all teams from minor upwards.

In a statement, the Dublin county board congratulated the footballers and management for making a stand for all players representing Dublin.

TYRONE (SF v Derry): J Devine, C Lawn, C Holmes, M McGee; C Gormley, G Devlin, P Jordan; C McAnallen, S Cavanagh; B Dooher, B McGuigan, S O’Neill; E McGinley, P Canavan, O Mulligan.

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