Harte poised to wield the axe in Tyrone

MICKEY Harte is set to carry out a major overhaul of his Tyrone squad.

As many as 12 members of the panel, including a number of household names, could be facing the chop.

According to Gaelic Life, established stars John Devine, Owen Mulligan, Brian McGuigan and Davy Harte are among those who will not be involved in 2013.

This leaves just four members of the first All-Ireland winning side in 2003 remaining — Steven O’Neill, Conor Gormley, Sean Cavanagh and Paschal McConnell.

Harte looks set to revamp his defence, with the reported exclusion of Sean O’Neill, Damien McCaul, Cathal McCarron and Stephen McNally.

Midfielders Aidan Cassidy and Niall McKenna are also stated to be surplus to requirements, as are attackers Peter Hughes and Ciarán Gervin.

Tyrone PRO Damian Harvey was unable to confirm the extent of the cull, but did say he expects to see changes to the make-up of the squad next season.

“The panel is under review, the players will be meeting later this seek, and there will be a much clearer picture after that,” he said.

“I understand that there will be changes to the squad from last year. The picture will become a lot clearer when the panel meets later this week.”

Harte is understood to be holding a meeting tonight with his new squad.

Trials have been taking place over the past few weeks, and a large number of players from clubs from all three divisions have been assessed by Harte and his assistants Tony Donnelly, Gavin Devlin and Fergal McCann.

Among those reported to have been invited to join the Red Hand set-up are Errigal Ciarán’s Ciarán McGinley, Omagh pair Conan Grugan and Barry Tierney, Strabane’s Danny McBride, Kevin Gallagher of Newtownstewart, Dean McNally from Kildress, and the Division One league’s top scorer this season, Clonoe’s Conor McAliskey.

Ryan McMenamin is another who will not be involved next season, having announced his retirement from inter-county football last month.

Meanwhile, Tyrone’s new training and administration complex at Garvaghy has received a huge grants bonanza worth more than £1m. (€1,238,000)

It was a day of double delight for the Red Hand county, with the vital cash coming from two different sources.

The financial package, worth £1.095m, means work can be completed on the £6.7m state-of-the-art centre near Ballygawley in time for next year’s scheduled opening.

County chairman Ciarán McLaughlin accepted a letter of offer for £595,000 from ARC North West through DARD (Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) towards a state of the art 3G pitch which will be constructed at the Garvaghey site in the new year. That brings the total contributed by DARD to £850,000 as part of two separate funding schemes.

Later in a hectic day McLaughlin led a delegation of Tyrone GAA officials to Stormont where he met with Joint First Minister Martin McGuinness, Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ni Chuilin and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill.

At the meeting Tyrone GAA where informed they were to receive £500,000 of grant aid towards the project.

“These grants will help not only to provide us with a truly magnificent centre for use within Tyrone but offers us the chance to open up our facilities for our sister organisations. The Ulster Council will also have use of the facility for strategic events all year round. The ARC North West funding will be invested directly into the construction of a 3G pitch at Garvaghey while the DCAL grant will help us to complete that part of the project and contribute to other areas under construction.”

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