Canavan gets nod for Tyrone as Meenan loses out

TYRONE manager Mickey Harte believes the talismanic Peter Canavan is fit and ready to take his place in the dream full-forward line for Sunday’s All-Ireland final against Kerry.

All-Ireland winning skipper Canavan will play at right corner-forward against champions Kerry in only his fourth start in 10 championship games this summer.

The man to make way for Canavan is midfielder Brian Meenan. Sean Cavanagh, who played at wing forward in the semi-final win over Armagh, reverts to the central area to partner Enda McGinley, who has recovered from a thigh injury.

Ryan Mellon moves from the right corner of the attack to the left wing in an otherwise unchanged side. Joe McMahon is preferred once again to Chris Lawn at full-back, while Michael McGee gets the nod over Shane Sweeney in the left corner.

Stephen O’Neill and Owen Mulligan are likely to be deployed as twin strikers, with Canavan in close support.

Former Tyrone captain and joint team manager Eugene McKenna last night backed Harte’s decision to start Canavan.

“If he’s fit, I think he should start because even if he doesn’t get on the ball, the amount of attraction he attracts provides room for his colleagues to do damage.”

McKenna also dismissed fears that the fatigue factor will hamper Tyrone.

“They couldn’t have arranged it any better. Even the draws that they had came at the right times and while maybe one match might have come around a wee bit quickly, all those matches kept them sharp, in a competitive frame of mind and really on their toes. A lot of those matches were tight affairs but they were all 10 times better than any number of training sessions.”

He added: “Some people talk about burn-out but come the final, it’ll be three weeks since their semi-final and that’s an ideal length of time in which to prepare for Kerry; one week to recover, one week to work quite hard and then the last week to taper things off.”

McKenna feels the side that starts quickly and puts some daylight between themselves and their opponents may very well go on and take the title.

“Then they’ll have the luxury of being able to defend in numbers and, given the opportunity, to raid forward and pick off the scores that will keep their lead in tact.”

Tyrone (V Kerry): P McConnell, R McMenamin, J McMahon, H McGee, D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan, E McGinley, S Cavanagh, B Dooher (c), B McGuigan, R Mellon, P Canavan, S O’Neill, O Mulligan.

* Meanwhile, the Mayo minor selectors have named the same side that defeated Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final for Sunday’s decider with Down.

MAYO MFC (v Down): S. Nallen; P. Healy, G. Cafferkey, D. Conway; C. Barrett, T. Cunniff, D. Hughes; P. Collins, P. Hanley; A Campbell, D. O’Connor, P. O’Connor; R. O’Boyle, D. Kilcullen, G. O’Boyle.

DOWN (MFC v Mayo): M McAllister; G Magee, C Garvey, H Magee; G McCartan, E McConville, K Duffin; J Colgan, P Fitzpatrick; D Lavery, M Clarke, S Grant; C Brannigan, R Kelly, P McCumiskey.

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