Four players walk away from Tyrone panel

Four players have walked out of the Tyrone squad in frustration at a lack of game time, in the latest sign of unrest in the Red Hand camp.

Four players walk away from Tyrone panel

Ardboe playmaker Shea McGuigan and Coalisland forward Paddy McNeice, All-Ireland minor champions in 2008, quit the panel after Sunday’s Allianz League draw with Kerry in Omagh.

Clonoe defender Dwayne Quinn and Eglish’s Emmett McKenna are the others to walk away in a move which has heightened speculation that morale in the Red Hands squad is extremely low.

All four were bit-part players during the McKenna Cup and ill-fated league campaign which resulted in relegation from division one on Sunday.

It’s not clear if the return of two-time All-Ireland senior winners Joe McMahon and Dermot Carlin for Sunday’s game impacted on the quartet’s decision to walk out of Mickey Harte’s squad.

Both players were togged and part of the 26-man panel for a game the Tyrone manager missed due to health reasons.

McMahon and Carlin were two of five players who were let go after the McKenna Cup, though it was known the pair were always likely to return later in the spring, while Kyle Coney, Mark Donnelly and Plunkett Kane were axed.

In a county where player disillusionment rarely bubbles to the surface, this is the first time the Tyrone management have had to deal with a walk-out on this scale.

Tyrone face Donegal in the Ulster championship SFC preliminary round on May 17.

Meanwhile, Tipperary boss Tommy Toomey has challenged his senior stars to lead the charge against Cork in tomorrow’s EirGrid Munster U21 football final at Semple Stadium.

The host county are missing five key forwards for the visit of the Rebels and captain Colin O’Riordan’s availability is still in doubt after he was concussed in the Allianz League clash with Sligo.

O’Riordan, a 2014 All Star nominee, is one of six U21 players who have featured at senior level this year. Goalkeeper Evan Comerford, Sigerson Cup medallist Steven O’Brien, Liam Casey, Jason Lonergan and Ian Fahey will all start for the U21s and Toomey said: “What will stand to us is the fact that these lads have been playing with the senior team in Division 3.

“They’ve stood up to the physicality of that but it’s all about the pace of the game.

“Cork move from back to front very quickly and we have to cope with that. Are we up to the pace of the Cork team? We won’t know that until we’re out there with them.

“Looking at Cork, their team obviously changed considerably from the Limerick game to Kerry, after Limerick scored 2-12 against them. And they have their own injury worries too.”

Tipp’s hand would have been strengthened considerably if John McGrath, Colman Kennedy, Greg Henry, Philip Quirke and Tom Kirwan were all available.

But McGrath, Quirke and Kirwan are out injured, while Kennedy and Henry are on soccer scholarships in the United States.

The five forwards won All-Ireland minor medals in 2011 and also featured on the team that retained the Munster minor crown in 2012.

Toomey also insisted that no chances will be taken with O’Riordan, after he was stretchered off against Sligo.

The manager said: “Colin is being tested all along as per process. There was another improvement on Sunday.

“We’re hopeful but we have to err on the side of caution. It’s down to the medical people and we won’t be putting Colin in harm’s way if there’s any doubt at all. We have to make sure he’s looked after.”

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