Seán Cavanagh believes Tyrone’s footballers would prefer to face Monaghan in Clones’ St Tiernach’s Park than their own Healy Park in Omagh on Sunday.

Although they won all but one of their four matches there in Division 1 earlier this year, Cavanagh feels his former team-mates have no great love for their home venue and would happily face their neighbours on their own patch.

“Over the years, we haven’t performed all that well in Omagh,” the former Tyrone captain said.

“Most of the guys don’t enjoy playing in Omagh for whatever reason. I think Monaghan will be there and I don’t think there will be much in it but I expect Tyrone will have that bit more.

“It’s a strange place, Omagh. It’s open, it’s impersonal at times. Through the league in particular, the ground is very heavy underfoot and for whatever reason, we never really seem to take off in it."

“Tyrone players would probably prefer to play the game in Clones or Armagh.

“They would fare better in those places but Monaghan will probably relish that. We’ve had a few battles with them in league and championship up in Omagh and there has never been any huge margin and I don’t see any difference now.

“As a Tyrone player, we always fancied ourselves in the wider, expansive pitches against a team like Monaghan, no disrespect to them.

“We backed the skills and fitness of our players against most counties but bar one match in Ulster in 2013 I think we have had the edge on Monaghan. But they are better now and Malachy O’Rourke has created a much stronger team in the last few years.

“They’ve unearthed a few players during the league. Whether they know their best team, there’s still an uncertainty there.”

Cavanagh agrees Lee Brennan is the solution for the lack of consistency Tyrone have had in terms of free-taking in recent years. The Moy man himself filled a gap before he retired at the end of last season but appreciates it has been a problem area.

“He is the answer, there is no doubting that. He has a bit of a hamstring injury and I’m not sure how bad it is. He will definitely score.

GAA Podcast: Dalo on the Dubs’ missed opportunity, Divo on the dogfight in Connacht

Irish Examiner writers Anthony Daly and John Divilly review the Championship weekend with Colm O’Connor.

"It’s trying to find a fit for a team that has Lee and Mark Bradley who is probably a sounder choice if you’re looking for scores from play. Lee will score from all angles from frees so it will be an interesting selection if Lee is fit.

“The right-footed ones (frees) might be as straightforward. I don’t know if they’re going to persist with bringing Niall (Morgan) out for the long-range ones. When we needed consistency it (free-taking) has been an issue.

"Lee does hit them from both sides of the field when he’s playing with his club and he does that extremely proficiently. Mickey might just go with him for everything and hope he can nail more than what we’ve done in recent years.”


We hear a lot about the geese, ducks and swans that arrive here from colder climes for the winter, but much less about smaller birds that come here to escape harsher conditions in northern Europe.Keep an eye out for redwings this winter

More From The Irish Examiner