McKenna Cup: Harte continues team rotation for final round robin matches

Centre-back Rory Brennan is one of the eight changes for Tyrone
Tyrone's Rory Brennan will start at centre-back against Fermanagh

Tyrone have recalled Peter Harte, Niall Sludden and Cathal McShane for their McKenna Cup match against Fermanagh.

The Red Hands only need a draw at Healy Park to reach the semi-finals but Mickey Harte has named a strong team that includes Niall Morgan in goal.

Fermanagh, who can no longer reach the semi-finals, can focus on their league opener against Cork on 27 January.

All three McKenna Cup groups will be decided during the final series of round robin matches tonight.

In the other match in Section C, Derry still have a mathematical chance of reaching the knock-out stages but must produce a convincing win against Ulster University at Owenbeg and also hope that Tyrone slip up against the Ernesiders if they are to overturn the 22-point scoring difference.

Section C
PWDLDiffPts
Tyrone2200174
Derry2101-52
Fermanagh2011-41
UU2011-81

The battle to finish top of Section A will take place at Ballybofey where the winner of the match between Donegal and Cavan will progress to the semi-finals with both teams winning their opening two matches.

Donegal have enjoyed convincing wins against Queen's and Down as they look to repeat the McKenna Cup success that kick-started their Ulster championship-winning campaign last season but manager Declan Bonner will be without Eoin McHugh tonight after the Kilcar clubman picked up a hamstring injury at Newry last weekend.

A draw at MacCumhaill Park could be enough for both teams to advance as Cavan aim to continue their unbeaten start under new manager Mickey Graham, who has indicated that he will only select locally-based players for tonight's match.

Queens will travel to Pairc Esler tonight where Down will hope to clinch their first win under new manager Paddy Tally, who has declared his intention to establish a new team during his time in charge of the county.

Section A
PWDLDiffPts
Donegal2200204
Cavan2200154
Down2002-110
Queen's2002-240

Monaghan's surprise draw against St Mary's in round two means that Malachy O'Rourke's side are a point behind Armagh in the Section B standings ahead of their meeting at the Athletic Grounds.

Armagh are effectively through to the semi-finals by virtue of their convincing victories over St Mary's and Antrim, leaving them with +39 scoring difference from the opening two rounds, and only a heavy defeat tonight would deny them a place in the knock-out stages but Monaghan must get at least a draw if they are to have any hope of progressing further.

Elsewhere Antrim will hope to finish their McKenna Cup campaign with at least a point when they play a St Mary's side that will already be looking towards their Sigerson Cup opener against NUI Galway next week.

Section B
PWDLDiffPts
Armagh2200394
Monaghan211083
St Mary's2011-251
Antrim2002-220

The team that finishes top of Section B will face the winners of Section A in the semi-finals while the best-placed runners-up will advance to take on the team that tops Section C.

Bank of Ireland McKenna Cup fixtures, Wednesday, 9 January
Section A
DonegalvCavanBallybofey, 20:00 GMT
DownvQueensNewry, 20:00 GMT
Section B
ArmaghvMonaghanAthletic Grounds, 20:00 GMT
AntrimvSt Mary'sWoodlands, 20:00 GMT
Section C
DerryvUlster UniversityOwenbeg, 20:00 GMT
TyronevFermanaghHealy Park, 20:00 GMT