Young tyros ‘the future of Tyrone,’ says veteran Gormley

The corner of the Tyrone dressing-room will look a lot different to Conor Gormley this weekend in Omagh.

For much of the last decade, the same little section had always been taken up by himself, Sean Cavanagh, Ryan McMenamin and Enda McGinley.

With the latter calling time on their careers over the last 12 months, it’s just Gormley and Cavanagh now.

They’re not quite the last of the old stagers but with the likes of Owen Mulligan, Davy Harte and John Devine also released from the panel over winter in an unexpected cull, it’s all change in the Red Hand county.

Ultimately, the task for Mickey Harte is to etch his name in managerial history by leading a new look team back to the Championship summit.

His successes in 2003, 2005 and 2008 were achieved for the most with the same players though it is a challenge Gormley believes his manager is relishing. “That’s a big task, and it’s the challenge that’s there for Mickey and the rest of us,” said Gormley. “The new boys who are in there would have been watching the older guys winning those All-Irelands. So they’ll want that success too. It’s not going to be easy but I believe they’re capable of doing it. It’s obviously early days but we do want to be there in September.”

The 32-year-old expects to play some part on Sunday in their McKenna Cup opener against Derry.

“Playing Derry is always a huge game for Tyrone players and it’ll be no different this weekend even if it’s the first game of the year,” continued the Carrickmore club man.

“I think most of the boys will be available. So Mickey will probably give the newer boys on the panel their chance and no better team than Derry to play when you’re testing guys out.

“Mickey has obviously seen something in the players he’s brought in. That’s why they’re on the panel so hopefully they will rise to the occasion as we’re all expecting. These boys are the future of Tyrone.”

If those young guns are the future, then Gormley represents the last of the old guard. He insists he won’t be changing his game too much though, to act as any sort of father figure.

“No, I don’t think so! I’ll still concentrate on myself and my own game for the most part,” he said. “Yes, you’re trying to help and to integrate the lads as much as possible. You’re trying to pass on advice and tips, a few tricks of the trade. Any bit of help you can give you’re obviously going to. But when you’re playing for Tyrone it’s a hard enough job doing your thing and keep that jersey so that’s where I’m at right now.”

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