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02nd Feb 2024

The family ties between the Tyrone and Derry teams go much deeper than just Mickey Harte

Lee Costello

Tyrone Derry

A Sunday of family feuds.

The family ties between the Tyrone and Derry teams facing each other this weekend go much deeper than just Mickey Harte and his history with the counties.

Tyrone and Derry have always been neighbouring rivals, and if you were to drive through Mid Ulster in particular, you would cross the border between the two counties three or four times within about a five-mile radius.

Cousins, friends, schoolmates and other relatives have been split by the divide of being either red and white or white and red, and naturally the crossover between the two was and is always going to happen.

Seeing Harte manage the Oakleaf county after two decades in charge of the Red Hands is a strange sights and one that will surely add extra drama and tension to this Sunday’s Allianz National League match.

However, there’s even more family ties that will make dinner conversation very awkward for the next week or so.

Uncle vs nephew.

Not only will Harte be going up against his former team, but he will be going up against his own nephew Peter, who is currently the captain of the Tyrone side, after replacing Padraig Hampsey earlier this year.

Peter was given his debut at senior level by his uncle, but didn’t win an All-Ireland until Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan took over.

Tyrone Derry

Brother in-law to-be.

Derry captain Conor Glass had a very eventful week, winning the club All-Ireland with Watty Graham’s Glen, beating Kerry with Derry six days later, and then proposing to his now fiancée Niamh O’Donnell the following day.

Thankfully, she said yes, but this does make the match a little tricky for O’Donnell when watching the game in the stands, because on one hand, she will of course be rooting for her husband to-be, and leader of the Oakleafers, but on the other hand, her little brother Sean O’Donnell will be lining out for Tyrone.

Sean made his league debut against Roscommon last week and was very impressive, linking up play and getting on the scoresheet to help his county emerge victorious, but now he will be coming up against his future brother-in-law, and nobody expects either player to hold back.

McGuigan vs Canavans.

Allianz National League

If you were to think of the two deadliest shooters in Ulster right now, you would be hard pressed to come up with better players than Shane McGuigan and Darragh Canavan – two stars who shot the lights out in the opening weekend of the league.

Add in the fact that Darragh’s younger brother Ruairi is also in the panel, and suddenly you can see Sunday’s tie become a shootout with the headline being McGuigan vs Canavans.

This match up does not need any extra spice or attention to make it more interesting, but let’s throw in the fact that McGuigan is currently going out with none other than Claire Canavan, sister to Darragh and Ruairi, and of course, daughter of Peter the Great.

Something tells us he will be on his best behaviour when he visits their house this week, but on the pitch, we expect nothing but fireworks as friends become foes, neighbours become rivals, and the only thing that matters is winning.

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