In a rematch of last year’s Ulster Football final Tyrone and Monaghan meet at the quarter final stage of the competition this Sunday at Healy Park in Omagh kick off 3.30pm.
Tyrone, who won the Ulster championship last year, will be looking for a successful start to their campaign while Monaghan will be looking to gain a measure of revenge for their ten point defeat to Tyrone in the final last year.
Tyrone who come into the game as warm favourites will have to face Monaghan without two of their key players. Both Justin and Joe McMahon will be forced to watch the game from the side-lines as they have a hamstring and jaw injuries respectively.
There are also injury concerns over Tommy McGuigan, who missed the entire National Football League campaign, and Phillip Jordan who sustained a dead leg in a recent club game. Given all his injury worries Tyrone boss Mickey Harte knows Monghan will present a huge test for his side.
“Without a doubt, Monaghan will be looking for redemption. The final score didn’t reflect the pattern of the game, because up until half-time, Monaghan were very much in that game,” said Harte.
“Only for two good saves from Pascal McConnell, we could have been in a very different place at half-time.
“But we survived that, and then we played very good football in the second half.
“Over the 70 minutes, it didn’t reflect the closeness of the game. So we would be very conscious that we’re meeting a decent team, who have got a new manager, and maybe a new lease of life, and who have played their football at a higher level than we did this year.”
For Monaghan, Sunday will be a huge test for what is now a relativity inexperienced side. With JP Mone, Gary McQuaid and Rory Woods all gone from a squad that got to two Ulster finals in four years now departed, Darren Hughes feels that Monaghan will have no fear of Tyrone.
“We know with the inexperience we have in our camp it could be a year or two before we see the best of us again. In saying that, we’re going in to win every game.
“There is a strong base of players there, a lot of players coming through that have had success at underage level, at vocational school level. There’s a no fear factor, they’ve won things before so maybe they can bring something to older players.”
Even allowing for that fearlessness in the Monaghan squad you get the feeling that Tyrone are approaching this Championship with renewed vigour and intent and they should be able to see off Monaghan and kick start their 2011 Championship campaign with a bang.