By Barry O’Donnell
COLM Cavanagh has been named in the Tyrone starting fifteen for Sunday’s Ulster Senior Championship first round clash against Monaghan in Omagh.
Cavanagh had faced a race against time to be fit for Sunday ever since
sustaining a quad muscle injury in shooting practice at County training back in late March which ruled him out of contention for the side’s last NFL Division One game against Kerry.
The 30-year old ‘sweeper supreme’, such a pivotal figure in Micky Harte’s defensive tactical template, has yet to play a club game with the Moy in the Tyrone All-County League, after previously starring in their superb match to All-Ireland Intermediate glory in February.
The absence of the 2017 All-Star recipient would have left the Red Hands with a huge void to fill in terms of their tactical set-up at the weekend against Monaghan.
However he has been selected alongside team captain Mattie Donnelly in midfield for the crunch clash with the Farney county.
In a further boost for the defending champions Donnelly’s Trillick team-mate Lee Brennan, has shaken off a hamstring scare to take his place in the Red Hand attack
The 21-year-old made a sensational impact during this year’s NFL, finishing as Division One’s top scorer with 2-30.
Elsewhere experienced half-back Tiernan McCann also makes a welcome return to the side for the first time since cracking a kneecap in the NFL game against Kildare on February 11.
Tyrone set out this Sunday in pursuit of what would an historic provincial treble for the County as they look for a first ever three-in-a -row of Ulster Senior titles.
The eagerly anticipated first round clash with Monaghan is set to draw a capacity crowd to Healy Park for what will be Tyrone’s first home Ulster Championship contest since 2014.
After Sean Cavanagh’s retirement last autumn, there are know no players from the 2003 breakthrough All-Ireland success in the current Red Hand squad.
Indeed Colm Cavanagh and Cathal McCarron are the only two players in the squad with All-Ireland senior medals, both from 2008.
The Tyrone team to play Monaghan this Sunday (May 20th)
1: Niall Morgan (Edendork)
2: Padraig Hampsey (Coalisland)
3: Ronan McNamee (Aghyaran)
4: Cathal McCaron Athy)
5: Tiernan McCann (Killyclogher)
6: Frank Burns (Pomeroy)
7: Peter Harte (Errigal Ciaran)
8: Colm Cavanagh (Moy)
9: Matthew Donnelly (Trilick)
10: Cathal McShane (Owen Roes)
11: Niall Sludden (Dromore)
12: Conor Meyler (Omagh)
13: Lee Brennan (Trillick)
14: Connor McAliskey (Clonoe)
15: Mark Bradley (Killyclogher)