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Tyrone sweating on fitness of Conn Kilpatrick and Conor Meyler for Ulster SFC opener


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Tyrone are sweating on the fitness of Conn Kilpatrick and Conor Meyler ahead of their Ulster SFC opener against either Monaghan or Cavan.

Joint manager Brian Dooher confirmed that both are extremely doubtful for the April 21st tie as a crippling injury toll shows no sign of easing.

Kilpatrick has been out of action since suffering an ankle injury in the defeat to Kerry in Killarney on March 3rd, while Meyler has not played this year, and continues his rehabilitation from a long-standing injury.

“Conn is recovering gradually from an ankle injury that he sustained against Kerry,” said Dooher.

“It will be touch and go whether he makes it or not, but hopefully he’ll not be far away come that time.

“Conor is working away too, but it’s hard to say whether he’ll be in contention for that stage, but he’s working very diligently on his injury as well, rehabbing with the medical team.”

Frank Burns is also virtually certain to miss the Ulster championship quarter-final, having recently undergone knee surgery, while Michael O’Neill, Michael McKernan and team captain Peter Harte are currently injured.

The Red Hands could be without as many as six key members of their 2021 All-Ireland winning side for the meeting with the winners of the preliminary round tie.

While Monaghan suffered relegation from Division One of the Allianz League and Cavan failed to gain promotion from Division Two, Dooher insisted that either will pose a stiff test for his side.

“We were lucky enough to get over Monaghan a couple of weeks ago in the league,” he said.

“It was nip and tuck going into the final stretch of the match, but thankfully we pulled out the stops to get a couple of points and just put that bit of difference in it.

“But I know last year, Monaghan pipped us at the end-up in the same position with a goal and turned the game around, put us out of the championship. So we know how good Monaghan are.

“And then Cavan, they’re finishing below Armagh and Donegal, who are two of the favourites for the Ulster championship from the outset.

“So that shows where Cavan are as well. They were unlucky to be behind those two.”

Dooher also conceded that Tyrone have many issues to address following a 21 points hammering by Dublin in their final league game of the season last weekend.

“We’ll take the learning on board from the Dublin match and hopefully try to address some of those deficits that we had, and try to get ready as best as we can for Monaghan or Cavan.”

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