O’Neill out but Cassidy poised to return for Tyrone

Tyrone attacker Ronan O’Neill has been ruled out of Sunday’s Ulster Championship clash with Donegal.

The 20-year-old damaged a hamstring in training and will play no part at Ballybofey. O’Neill had returned to full fitness after missing most of last season with a cruciate injury.

“Ronan hasn’t torn a hamstring but he has damaged a hamstring and will be out for a couple of weeks,” said assistant manager Tony Donnelly.

“He was really working hard. His chances had been limited during the league, but he had been working hard, and then to receive this setback, it’s really tough on him.

“But he’s a dedicated young lad, and he’s determined to get back to full fitness when he can and play whatever part he can in the rest of the campaign.”

Donnelly added: “He found it in one of our conditioned games, he pulled up at the right time and didn’t accentuate the injury in any way, but it still rules him out of any sort of real training for the next two to three weeks.”

On a more positive note, midfielder Aidan Cassidy’s chances of featuring in the clash with the All-Ireland champions have improved significantly. Cassidy damaged an ankle in the closing stages of the Allianz FL final against Dublin last month, and had been sidelined for four weeks.

“Aidan trained for the first time at the weekend. He had been doing rehab and building it up last week, and he trained with the collective group on Sunday. He’s fine,” said Donnelly.

A handful of players carrying minor knocks are also expected to be ready for this weekend’s north-west derby, including the most serious concerns, Dermot Carlin and Justin McMahon.

“Dermot has an Achilles tendon problem, it still wouldn’t be a hundred per cent, but he’s okay. Justy is grand as well, and has had a full week’s training.”

And Donnelly confirmed that skipper and ace attacker Stephen O’Neill, recently named as the player of the league, will be fit to lead the Red Hands this weekend. O’Neill missed the league final after suffering an ankle injury in a freak accident during the pre-match warm-up.


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