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Antrim shaping up to hit targets with McCann, Sweeney and McGourty

By John Campbell

ANTRIM manager Liam Bradley believes that renewed firepower up front can underpin progress for his side in 2014.

The return to the team of players such as Tómas McCann, Mark Sweeney and C J McGourty is expected to considerably bolster an attack which rarely fired on all cylinders during last year's tumble into Division Four of the Allianz League.

Bradley has lost no time in addressing what he feels has been a shortcoming in the Antrim set-up and with his son Paddy, the former Derry ace marksman, set to assume responsibility for working with the forwards, it can be expected that the Saffrons will return rather more handsome scoreboard dividends.

Tómas McCann had been one of Antrim's most consistent forwards until he left the squad when it was under Frank Dawson's baton earlier this year while his brother Michael has also been conspicuous by his absence from the side of late.

Now, though, both could once again become first-choice forwards with Michael in line to be handed the full-forward role since Sean McVeigh and Niall McKeever are likely to forge a new midfield partnership.

"I have always thought that there are good forwards in Antrim and I have no doubt that now we have some of the guys back on board we will have much-needed additional firepower," maintains Bradley. "The fact that Paddy will be working with the forwards should be a help and will serve to bring out the best in them, I feel."

Antrim chairman Jim Murray now hails what he describes as "a happy ship".

"Everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and we are all looking forward enormously to next year," says Murray. "We want to put what happened in the recent past behind us and get on with the business of winning matches. Liam Bradley has rekindled the spirit that was prevalent in 2008 and 2009 and hopefully the team's performances will provide confirmation of this."

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