herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

In-form O'Neill can inspire Rebel charge

ALLIANZ FL DIVISION 1

TYRONE v CORK

(Omagh, Tonight 7.30, live Setanta Ire)

ALMOST seven months have passed since that All-Ireland semi-final when 14-man Cork locked Tyrone in a Croke Park vice-grip from which the defending All-Ireland champions had no escape.

It may have all gone pear-shaped in the final for Cork, but they have kept on winning since then whereas Tyrone have kept on losing. Cork's maximum points tally after three games is no major surprise, but seeing Mickey Harte's men stuck at the bottom certainly qualifies as one.

In mitigation, they've been missing a host of marquee names through injury (and briefly suspension), and so fretful Red Hand fans will be relieved to see Seán Cavanagh and Philip Jordan restored to the bench this evening.

Tyrone were unlucky not to claim something from their ill-fated trip to Inniskeen in Monaghan -- and they could well have won but for Conor Gormley's costly turnover leading to Tommy Freeman's match-changing goal.

The usual gut instinct tells you that desperation (for points) and home advantage should tilt this in favour of Tyrone; but Pearse O'Neill has been flying at midfield, the Cork forwards are scoring freely and there might just be one more dollop of short-term pain for Harte's early-season strugglers.

ODDS: Tyrone 8/11, Draw 15/2, Cork 11/8

VERDICT: Cork

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