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Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Tyrone can maintain progress
All-Ireland Football Qualfiers, Sunday, Croke Park, live on Radio Ulster MW:
Tyrone v Sligo (1440 BST)
Donegal v Meath (1630)
Tyrone's impressive progress in the All-Ireland Qualifiers should be maintained in Sunday's game against Sligo at Croke Park.
Immediately after their defeat by Armagh in the Ulster Championship, many pundits predicted that this young Tyrone team could be the side to benefit most this year from the backdoor system.
Impressive wins over Leitrim and bitter rivals Derry have only served to increase the expectancy surrounding the side managed by Art McCrory and Eugene McKenna.
Sligo are likely to present a stiffer challenge to that posed by Derry at Casement Park.
A late rally by the men from the Yeats County had Galway hanging on for victory in the Connacht Final last month.
Nevertheless Galway always looked like winning after storming into nine-point lead early in the second half and there may have been an element of John O'Mahony's side easing up before the finishing line.
Tyrone will be playing their first game at headquarters since the 1996 All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Meath.
Some rough treatment by Meath on that occasion saw Peter Canavan sustaining a serious ankle injury which in truth affected his form and confidence for several seasons.
But while Canavan's fitness will always remain a source of concern for the Tyrone management, the Errigal Ciaran star has been in marvellous form this season when he has made it out onto the pitch.
Canavan has hit 0-18 in five outings so far this summer but his ability to set up colleagues for scores is even more important for Tyrone.
The Sligo line-up shows three changes from the side which started the Connacht decider.
Not surprisingly, David Durkin will start at centre half-back after making a major impression when he was introduced in the second half against Galway.
His driving runs from deep caused Galway problems in the final quarter at Castlebar and Tyrone will be mindful of the centre half-back's abilities.
Nigel Clancy is drafted in at full-back while Padraig Doohan has been replaced at right half-back by Owen Maguire.
In the half-forward line, Dara McGarty takes over from Tommy Brennan while John McPartland, a sub in the Connacht final, will start at full-forward.
Meanwhile, Donegal will face a huge test in the second part of Sunday's Croke Park double-header when they face Meath in the Qualifiers.
Every Donegal player know that they squandered a great chance to beat Armagh in the Ulster final.
That is bound to nag at the confidence of the northerners and Meath will fancy their chances of defeating Mickey Moran's side.
Sean Boylan's side's hammering of Laois in the previous round suggested that a head of steam was being built up after their highly fortunate win over Louth in the previous round.
Meath will no doubt have noted Armagh's effective marking job on Brendan Devenney and Adrian Sweeney in the Ulster final and similar tactics will surely be employed by Boylan.
Devenney will probably be picked up by one of the best defenders in modern day football, Darren Fay.
Midfield, as ever, could prove crucial with Donegal fans hoping John Gildea and Jim McGuinness can dominate Nigel Crawford and John Cullinane.
As regards the Meath attack, manager Sean Boylan will be expecting Trevor Giles to finally catch fire this season after producing mediocre efforts to date.
In an effort to get more from Giles, Boylan has moved the player to centre half-forward with Richie Keely starting at number 12.
Adrian Kenny, centre-forward against Laois, begins the Donegal clash in the left-corner.
Meanwhile, Sunday's other big game is the Munster Football Final replay where Cork will be expected to defeat Tipperary after being surprisingly held by the Premier County last weekend.
Sligo: J Curran; M Cosgrove, N Clancy, B Philips; O McGuire, D Durcan, P Lachland; P Durcan, E O'Hara; D McGarty, M Brehony, C Quinn; D Sloyane, J McPartland, G McGowan.
Tyrone: P Ward, C Gormley, C Lawn, B Robinson, R McMenamin, C McGinley, P Jordan; C McAnallen, C Holmes; B Dooher, Pascal Canavan, D McCrossan, B McGuigan, S O'Neill, Peter Canavan. Subs: T Garrity, C Gourley, K Hughes, J Quinn, O Mulligan, B McGuckin, G Cavlan, P Donnelly, S Mulgrew, E McGinley, R Meenagh.
Donegal: T Blake; S Carr, E Doherty, N McGinley, R Sweeney, B Monaghan, K Cassidy, J Gildea, J McGuinness, C Toye, M Hegarty, B Roper, A Sweeney, B Devenney, P McGonigle.
Meath: C Sullivan; M O'Reilly, D Fay, C Murphy; P Shankey, N Nestor, P Reynolds; N Crawford, J Cullinane; E Kelly, T Giles, R Kealy; O Murphy, G Geraghty, A Kenny.
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