REVENGE is the Red Hand goal in the eagerly anticipated meeting of Tyrone and Donegal in the Ulster semi-final and former star Enda McGinley has called on the referee to be “more aware” of negative attention directed towards Peter Harte, writes Seamus Donnelly.
Errigal Ciaran man McGinley was speaking ahead of the mouth-watering clash at St Tiernach’s Park this Saturday evening, when the Ulster champions from the last two years go head-to-head.
The clash of two heavyweights will see Tyrone aim to gain some measure of revenge for the three point defeat they suffered at the hands of Jim McGuinness’s charges at the same stage last year.
McGinley, who retired from the Tyrone squad at the end of last season after a distinguished inter-county career, believes that Peter Harte can play an important role for the Red Hands on Saturday.
“Peter Harte will be hoping for a wee bit more freedom than the last day. He got a lot of negative attention against Armagh,” McGinley said.
“You’re hoping the referee might be a bit more aware of that coming into this game so Peter can get a little bit more of a free hand.”
Harte, who was perhaps Tyrone’s star performer throughout the successful league campaign, has been closely watched in his last couple of games with both Armagh and Kildare seeking to nullify his influence. It is highly likely that Donegal will hope to do likewise.
Of the game itself McGinley was expects a fascinating contest: “These are probably the two form teams in Ulster at the minute and it’s building up to be a huge semi-final. I think both teams will really fancy their chances and both teams will be fully confident. Donegal obviously had an amazing result against Derry where they seemed to play very well. They seemed to be moving on from their style of play last year and have added much more of an attacking threat that last year which is obviously a new thing.
“Tyrone had a great league. They had a little bit of a dip in the league final but I was very impressed with how they were going in against Armagh. It’s really got the makings of a fantastic game.
“The way the game is played at the minute sometimes it’s quite hard to look in and find a man of the match because it’s such a team game.
“The era of one on one battles has moved a wee bit. It’s group defence and it’s group attack. It’s much more of a team effort.”
Mickey Harte is sweating on the fitness of a number of players most notably his full back Justin McMahon. Dermot Carlin, who started the Armagh game, is also a doubt.
It’s sure to be a fascinating encounter.
Throw in is 4.30pm