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Brennan relishing finally getting into action with Derry

By John Campbell

Derry manager John Brennan had been bracing himself for a feisty McKenna Cup opener against National League Division One side Monaghan last week-end given the recent rather tempestuous championship history between the two sides.

But a frozen Celtic Park surface ruled the game out and now Brennan’s men will commence combat tomorrow night against Cavan — a team that have slipped ignominiously into Division Four.

But Lavey clubman Brennan, for whom this will be his first match in charge, has already warned his players that Cavan will be keen to make an early point.

“Val Andrews has taken over again there and he will be very keen to start off with a home win. From our perspective, it is very important that we get off on the right foot because within the next number of days we have to play Monaghan and Queen’s.

“Indeed, all teams are now faced with the prospect of playing three matches in eight days and that’s not going to be easy,” he said.

Brennan will send out a team that will be an amalgam of youth and experience. Several Derry players will be turning out for their university sides this week-end and Brennan intends having them put under the microscope.

“I know that some of our university boys have been showing up well in challenge matches and that’s encouraging from my perspective. It’s important that players get games under their belts before the start of the National League. We meet Tyrone at the start of next month and that’s a big ask for us,” stated Brennan.

Meanwhile, Antrim manager Liam Bradley is now resigned to being without the dynamic James Loughrey for this season.

The St Brigid’s clubman will concentrate on his studies and does not feel he can combine this with playing for the county.

But Bradley can take heart from the fact that Tomas McCann has committed himself to the squad and that his brother Michael is back from honeymoon.

Both could prove valuable players and may get game time against St Mary’s at Casement Park tomorrow night.

“We have a big campaign ahead of us in Division Two of the National League. The McKenna Cup will certainly give us an indication as to where we are at just now but the major challenges undoubtedly lie ahead,” says Bradley.

Belfast Telegraph

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