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Antrim relishing first shot at Fermanagh boss Canavan

Antrim are looking forward to becoming the first side to put managerial skills of Peter Canavan to the test when they meet Fermanagh in the opening round of the Power NI Dr McKenna Cup on Sunday week.

The Saffrons will not be at full-strength but liaison officer Tony McCollum believes that they will “provide Peter with food for thought” when the sides meet at Brewster Park, Enniskillen.

“Obviously this is a very tasty match for us and we are looking forward to it,” he says.

“Peter has made it very plain that Fermanagh have put their woeful year behind them and has indicated that their aim will be to hit the ground running.

“That’s something we would like to do ourselves,” states McCollum.

The Saffrons will be without the likes of Kevin O’Boyle, Colin Brady, Andrew McLean, Kevin Niblock and Sean Burke but with Justin Crozier, Tony Scullion, James Loughrey and Michael McCann there to lead the way, manager Liam Bradley’s mix of youth and experience is expected to ask big questions of the Ernesiders.

“Fermanagh will feel that Peter Canavan can give them a new lease of life and we have to be prepared for a tough battle.

“It used to be that the McKenna Cup was seen as a warm-up competition but with the National League starting in February all teams will want to make an early impact,” insists McCollum.

Manager Bradley is particularly anxious to see his attack take shape now that he is about to introduce some new faces.

“We are fairly well served in defence but I would like to see our attack strengthened,” says Bradley.

“We do not want to be overly reliant on Paddy Cunningham for scores. It is important that the scoring burden is shared.”

With Michael Magill expected to return at full-forward and the lightning-fast Thomas McCann likely to line out at centrethreequarters, the central spine of the Saffrons attack could prove solid.

The McGourty brothers Kevin and CJ are conspicuous by their absence from the panel while Sean Burke is unable to commit himself to the county due to his final year of studies at Queen’s.

Belfast Telegraph

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