We have team news and live score commentary for Tyrone v Armagh Healy Park, Omagh throw in 3pm
Tyrone’s annihilation of Louth, 2-21 to 0-10 two weeks ago went some way to putting the pain of their one-point Ulster Championship defeat to Monaghan behind them. Niall Morgan who missed the chance to force a replay in Clones added three frees and a ’45 in the win, as Mickey Harte’s men ran riot. But ten of their total tally came from frees which might be of some concern. Conor McAliskey’s four points from play was probably the highlight as Stephen O’Neill added a goal, his first and only score of the Championship to date.
Armagh never looked like coming out of the Ulster Championship semi-final replay with Monaghan with anything other than a loss. An over-reliance on Tony Kernan and Jamie Clarke with both scoring 0-7 and 0-5 respectively. The problem is they don’t look defensively sound and Monaghan opened them up too easily. They lacked any ball winners in the middle of the park and that provided the Farney men with the perfect launchpad for attack.
Duel of the game
Sean Cavanagh v Aaron Findon
Despite concerns of the ageing Sean Cavanagh, he has shown his class time and time again. He has been one of their key performers in this Championship campaign. When on form, his ball-winning ability in the centre of the park and kicking accuracy gives Mickey Harte’s men an advantage over most midfields. If he can’t be stopped, neither will Tyrone.
After a rather lacklustre performance against Monaghan, Aaron Findon needs to step up to the mark. If he doesn’t, Cavanagh will clean him and Armagh out in midfield. The Orchard county’s inability to win ball from kick-outs was part of the reason for their defeat to Monaghan. More is expected of Findon and whoever partners him, in Kieran Toner’s absence has a huge task. Taming Cavanagh is a huge ask, but having faced Monaghan who managed it to a certain degree, Paul Grimley must come up with some way of stopping him. Whether Findon is the man to do it, that question will be answered inside the first five minutes.
Caolan Rafferty is still in a plaster from breaking a bone and is also joined by Ethan Rafferty, Kieran Toner and Ciaran Rafferty on the list of Armagh absentees. There was considerable criticism in the county following Aaron Kernan’s omission from the replay with Monaghan and Paul Grimley may succumb to pressure given their lack of defensive quality against Monaghan. Mickey Harte meanwhile has made three changes to his side with Justin McMahon replacing Peter Harte (broken wrist) and Kyle Coney and Niall McKenna replace Stephen O’Neill and Shay McGuigan.
Tyrone: Niall Morgan; Aidan McCrory, Ronan McNamee, PJ Quinn; Ronan McNabb, Matthew Donnelly, Justin McMahon; Colm Cavanagh, Sean Cavanagh; Emmett McKenna, Kyle Coney, Ciaran McGinley; Darren McCurry, Niall McKenna, Connor McAliskey.
Armagh: (probable) Phillip McEvoy; James Morgan, Charlie Vernon, Finnian Moriarty; Aaron Kernan, Brendan Donaghy, Ciaran McKeever; Stefan Campbell, Aaron Findon; Eugene McVerry, Kevin Dyas, Stefan Forker; Aidan Forker, Tony Kernan, Jamie Clarke.
The last time these sides met was in the 2012 All-Ireland quarter-final, which Tyrone won by three points. Since then the divide has widened and there is no reason to believe today will be any different. Tyrone should continue their way through the backdoor but will need that they have All-Ireland aspirations. This won’t be the test that they will have to overcome to prove that, but their performance will provide an insight into how focused Mickey Harte’ s men are. Tyrone by seven points.