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Shiels back to boost Antrim as Armagh duo call time on careers

By John Campbell

The careers of two of Ulster's top hurlers have just taken markedly contrasting turns. Paul Shiels, the architect of so much success with Antrim in the past, returns to the squad in advance of Sunday's Allianz League Division 2A clash with London at Corrigan Park, Belfast while Armagh's long-serving sharpshooter Declan Coulter has taken his leave of the county team.

Shiels has spent the last two years battling injury and his reunion with the Saffrons has sparked further optimism that the team can make progress this term.

Management spokesman Dominic McKinley believes that the player's return to the squad is both timely and advantageous.

"Paul's return coincides with the fact that we are missing some of our more experienced players including Neil McManus, who suffered a fractured cheekbone against Tipperary recently, and we are glad to have him on board," says McKinley.

But while Shiels re-enters the highly competitive league arena, Armagh must do without Coulter who has been top scorer for the side for a number of years.

More often than not in the past, Coulter has been the team's match-winner but skipper Cathal Carvill believes that the side can still make headway.

"Declan has family commitments and has moved to Donegal. He has given great service to Armagh, there's no doubt about it," says Carvill.

"Kieran McKernan has also opted out and we will sorely miss them both but there is a new generation of players and it's all about the youth now."

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