Tyrone skipper Dooher will face the Royals

Ulster champions Tyrone have received a massive boost ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland SFC quarter-final (Croke Park, throw-in 4pm) with the news that team captain Brian Dooher has been passed fit to start the game.

Ulster champions Tyrone have received a massive boost ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland SFC quarter-final (Croke Park, throw-in 4pm) with the news that team captain Brian Dooher has been passed fit to start the game.

Wing-forward Dooher had been a serious doubt for the clash with the Royals due to a groin problem.

The Clann na nGael clubman is one of two surviving members from the Tyrone team that faced Meath in the 1996 All-Ireland semi-final which was the counties' last championship meeting. The second player is full-forward Gerard Cavlan.

Stephen O'Neill has failed in his bid to make the Red Hands' starting fifteen as he continues to be troubled by a knee tendonitis problem, but the former Footballer of the Year is expected to appear in the second half.

In all, Tyrone boss Mickey Harte has made two personnel changes for tomorrow's encounter - corner back Damien McCaul comes in for his first championship start while Ryan Mellon is recalled at wing-forward.

There are a number of positional switches to the Red Hand side that beat Monaghan last time out in the Ulster final. Joe McMahon moves from midfield to replace Ciaran Gourley at full-back, with Conor Gormley now stationed at centre back.

Alongside McMahon and Ryan McMenamin in the full-back line, UUJ star McCaul will gain his first championship start - Dermot Carlin is the player to lose out in the reshuffle.

Kevin Hughes, who was at full-forward for a time against Monaghan, will partner Sean Cavanagh at midfield, while Harte's rejigged attack sees the experienced Cavlan move from wing forward to full-forward with Mellon included at left half-forward.

Tomorrow's tie is only the second ever championship match between Tyrone and Meath, with the Royals winning their previous fixture - the 1996 All-Ireland semi-final - by 2-15 to 0-12.

Tyrone have reached the All-Ireland quarter-finals four times since the new championship system was introduced in 2001. They were beaten in 2001 and 2004 but won in 2003 and 2005, the latter in a replay against Dublin. They were Ulster champions in 2001 and 2003 and came through the qualifiers in 2004 and 2005.

TYRONE (SFC v Meath) - J Devine; R McMenamin, J McMahon, D McCaul; D Harte, C Gormley, P Jordan; K Hughes, S Cavanagh; B Dooher (capt), R Mulgrew, R Mellon; C McCullagh, G Cavlan, O Mulligan.

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