All-Ireland final: Kevin McStay’s guide to the Tyrone team

After dispatching Kerry, Red Hand look to lift Sam Maguire for the first time since 2008

1 Niall Morgan

Club: Edendork. Age: 30. Championship debut: 2013 v Donegal. Occupation: Teacher

Thoroughly modern goalkeeper: good in the air, excellent shot-stopper. Generally accurate on re-starts. Comfortable in possession. But: erratic with long-distance frees and sometimes kick-outs. Can switch off and go walkabout.

2 Michael McKernan

Club: Coalisland. Age: 23. Championship debut: 2018 v Monaghan. Occupation: Financial adviser

Tidy defender. Superb in semi-final (Paul Geaney scoreless and subbed off). Strong in the tackle, excellent tracker by virtue of athleticism and sheer pace. Covers ground. Not afraid of the posts.

3 Ronan McNamee

Club: Aghyryan. Age: 30. Championship debut: 2012 v Kerry. Occupation: Sales developer

Another good man-marker and physical defender. Showed a lot of composure on David Clifford to recover from a bad semi-final start. Strong in the tackle. One of the team’s leaders.

4 Pádraig Hampsey

Club: Coalisland. Age: 27. Championship debut: 2016 v Derry. Occupation: Personal trainer

Quiet but obvious leader. Again, man-marking his forte (he hounded Seán O’Shea around Croke Park - scored the same as him from play!). Early boxing career helps with big-game focus.


5 Frank Burns

Club: Pomeroy. Age: 26. Championship debut: 2017 v Derry. Occupation: Personal trainer

Very good footballer. Tidy skills. Mobile. Gets on the ball a lot. Combative and seeks contact. Another skilled linking player but used a lot as the plus-one or outright sweeper.

6 Peter Harte

Club: Errigal Ciarán. Age: 30. Championship debut: 2010 v Antrim . Occupation: Teacher

Have long admired this classy footballer. Tight skills are excellent. Strong left-footed shot. Can drift from games too easily and needs to focus. Ubiquitous attacking threat when breaking at speed.

7 Kieran McGeary

Club: Pomeroy. Age: 26. Championship debut: 2016 v Derry. Occupation: Teacher

MOTM v Kerry. Tireless worker. Small in stature but great appetite for contact and tackling. Like majority of his colleagues, comfortable in possession with excellent solo, evasion and passing skills.

8 Brian Kennedy

Club: Derrylaughan. Age: 22. Championship debut: 2019 v Derry. Occupation: Quantity surveyor

Tall, strong, physical centrefielder but inexperienced. Like his partner, will do best work between the 65s. Target for Morgan’s long accurate kick-outs to the wing. Generally replaced in second half.

9 Conn Kilpatrick

Club: Edendork. Age: 23. Championship debut: 2021 v Cavan. Occupation: Student

Championship springer after being largely overlooked during league. Honest worker in the middle third but can drift. Understands his limitations and, like Kennedy, has discipline to stay around the middle.

10 Conor Meyler

Club: Omagh. Age: 26. Championship debut: 2015 v Tipperary. Occupation: Teacher

Having some season. Man marking duties a huge success (Ryan McHugh, Ryan McAnespie, Paudie Clifford all tamed) but also adding to breakouts. New role dictates he won’t be worrying umpires.

11 Michael O’Neill

Club: Ardboe. Age: 25. Championship debut: 2020 v Donegal . Occupation: Plasterer

Flies under the radar. Who is he and what does he do? Another back covering space. Hugely committed and made big block in the semi but needs to raise possession count.

12 Niall Sludden

Club: Dromore. Age: 29. Championship debut: 2016 v Derry. Occupation: Teacher

Play anywhere, play everywhere. One of Tyrone’s best linking players. Very fast carrier, can score and has an eye for a goal. Switches between the 40s when counter-attack is on.

13 Darren McCurry

Club: Edendork. Age: 28. Championship debut: 2012 v Roscommon. Occupation: Joiner

Management belief in his abilities rewarded after early struggles. A consistent scorer, frees and play, and well able for individual battles. Remarkably strong in the air for a small corner man.

14 Mattie Donnelly

Club: Trillick. Age: 30. Championship debut: 2012 v Donegal. Occupation: Accountant

Coming into top form at the right time. Fine footballer. Some excellent interventions against Kerry but also lost some ball. Scores easily when chance presents. Contributes, as his assists’ totals confirm.

15 Conor McKenna

Club: Eglish. Age: 25. Championship debut: 2020 v Donegal. Occupation: Sales rep

Has yet to reach the potential he suggested before heading to Oz and indeed, immediately after he returned last year. Explosive competitor. Two vital goals against Kerry. Excellent in the air.

Lorcan Quinn, Mark Bradley, Darragh Canavan, Paul Donaghy, Niall Kelly, Tiernan McCann, Ben McDonnell, HP McGeary, Cathal McShane, Jonathan Munroe, Conor Munroe/Cormac Shields

The fact that Rory Brennan (yet another top class man-marker) and Richard Donnelly didn’t make it back in time from the after-effects of Covid to play a part in this final is a significant blow. They started their championship season in pole position so are obviously frontliners in the minds of management. Paul Donaghy was the league star turn but no sighting of him since the Cavan win. Cathal McShane (1-3 v Kerry when he came on) again has to make do with a place on the bench. Obviously, Darragh Canavan and Tiernan McCann are extras who have added to the tribe when called upon this season, particularly the last day.