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Paul Grimley to field eight Armagh debutants in cup tie

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Paul Grimley has, as expected, named an experimental side to face Down tonight in the O'Fiaich Cup tournament at the Athletic Grounds (8.00pm).

Eight newcomers will make their senior debut including Crossmaglen pair Paul Hughes and Kyle Carragher along with brothers Oisín and Ciarán Mac Íomhair from the Annaghmore club.

Charlie Vernon, who has played at midfield in the past as well as half-forward, returns having missed most of this year because of injury and he will fill the centre-half-back position normally occupied by Ciaran McKeever.

"It's great to have Charlie back in action again. He will bring a bit of power to the side and give us options," says Grimley.

Aaron Findon and Phelim O'Neill form what is a fledgling midfield pairing while the vastly experienced Brian Mallon has been handed the role of playmaker at centrethreequarters.

Kyle Carragher, so impressive with Crossmaglen Rangers this term, is included at full-forward.

Down manager James McCartan will also field a largely experimental side with Burren duo Shea McArdle in Spain for the next few months and Gerard McGovern injured.

Kilcoo players will not be involved as their protracted season finished only last Sunday when they won the All County League title, beating Castlewellan in the final, to complete a magnificent league and championship double triumph.

Meanwhile, Fergal Doherty and Niall Holly could be given the opportunity to resurrect their Derry careers against Louth in the O'Fiaich Cup tomorrow night. Both have been long-term absentees from the Oak Leaf side.

Holly has not played for the county since 2011 when he was a key figure in the Coleraine Eoghan Rua side that stormed to the Derry championship title.

Doherty has been out through injury but manager Brian McIver views his experience as a welcome asset as he focuses on 2014.

Armagh (v Down): P Rodgers; P Hughes, G McCoey, M Murray; C Rafferty, C Vernon, R Grugan; A Findon, P O'Neill; A Forker, B Mallon, O Mac Íomhair; C Mac Íomhair, K Carragher, N McConville.

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